Rantoul man arraigned for infant murder

Rantoul man arraigned for infant murder

URBANA — A Rantoul man accused of causing the death of an infant in his care is due back in court May 6.

Patrick Kennedy, 35, of the 400 block of East Belle Avenue, was arraigned Friday by Judge Jeff Ford on a single count of first-degree murder alleging that he hit or shook 7-week-old Daniel Lindholm-Wilkins so violently that the child suffered bleeding in the brain that led to his death.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said that Kennedy, the foster parent to Daniel, called 911 about 5 p.m. on Thursday, on April 17, reporting that the baby was vomiting and unresponsive.

The infant was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital where doctors found injuries that Rietz said were inconsistent with explanations that Kennedy gave for how he could have received them. In addition to bleeding in the brain, Daniel suffered rib fractures on his side, she said.

Daniel died on Wednesday.

Rietz said Kennedy's wife was not home at the time the child was injured. She and Kennedy had been foster parents to the child since his birth because his biological mother was deemed unfit due to an ongoing relationship with a sexual predator. They were also foster parenting Daniel's older sister, who has been moved from their home, Rietz said.

Kennedy was arrested Thursday afternoon. He's being held in lieu of $250,000 bond, meaning he'll have to post $25,000 cash to be released.

Urbana attorney Baku Patel will represent him. Kennedy requested a probable cause hearing.

If convicted of murder, he faces a mandatory prison term of 20 to 60 years.

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meprimate wrote on April 25, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I have read that placing children in Illinois foster care is more dangerous than leaving them in the parent's home. Many people take in such children not so much because they love children as because they need the additional income. 

Are potential foster care parents drug screened? Medical histories taken? Most people know not to shake a tiny one, but drugs or alcohol could make it happen anyway. 

I had indirect contact with local DCFS through an employee and was shocked at the lack of professionalism.  I know local professionals who say they are reluctant to report families to DCFS because of what may happen.



trysomethingnew wrote on April 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Foster care in central Illinois specifically is terrible. If a caseworker sees you every month your lucky. They know the trouble they know how many children die in Dcfs care but they continue to put children in homes worse than take them out of. Most ex foster kids will tell you, they weren't abused until Dcfs were placed in foster homes. My heart goes out to the mother of this child and the sister.  

jeltrevo wrote on April 28, 2014 at 9:04 am

Our hearts are absolutely grieved for this situation and Daniel's loss.

My wife and I are new to C-U and have been foster parents for about four years.  While it's true that lack of staffing and funding contribute to a rather terrible foster care system in Illinois, we want to commit ourselves to being the very best foster parents we can.

We encourage you to support the foster parents and children you know because the state is unable to do so.  Love them, encourage them, walk through life with them.