The 2003 drownings of three children at Clinton Lake in DeWitt County and the criminal cases that followed drew wide interest at the time in East Central Illinois and, more recently, a book.
On Wednesday, the two authors of a book about the incident called “The Unforgiven” will appear at the Champaign Public Library to discuss this tragic story and take questions from the audience.
The presentation by Steve Vogel and Edith Brady-Lunny will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
“The Unforgiven” lays out the sad and disturbing facts of the relationship between Amanda Hamm and her live-in boyfriend, Maurice LaGrone Jr.
LaGrone is serving a life sentence for his murder convictions. Hamm was convicted on a lesser offense related to her children’s drownings. She was released from prison in 2008 and now lives in Chicago.
Hamm’s three children — ages 6, 3 and 23 months — drowned after the car in which they were riding drove down a boat ramp at the lake, where it had been parked, and into the water.
Hamm and LaGrone insisted it was a tragic accident, but authorities alleged they acted intentionally to rid themselves of the children. They noted that the pair called 911 for assistance when they could have gone to the children’s rescue.
Once emergency-service workers arrived, they quickly entered the relatively shallow water and removed the children from the car. By then, of course, it was too late.
Vogel and Brady-Lunny will discuss the before and after of the lives of Hamm and LaGrone, focusing particular attention on the police investigation that includes audio of the suspects’ interrogations.Brady-Lunny, who covered the drowning-case trials, is the longtime courts reporter for The Bloomington Pantagraph.Vogel, a longtime radio reporter in Bloomington, is the author of “Reasonable Doubt,” a book about the 1983 David Hendricks murder case.
Hendricks, a successful businessman, was charged with killing his wife and three children in their beds in their Bloomington home. He was initially convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But the conviction was overturned on appeal, and Hendricks was found not guilty in a retrial.