Investigators on Friday morning continued trying to untangle what led to two fatal events they say are connected: a fatal house fire in Glen Carbon, and the mom who lived there drowning after crashing her vehicle into a Highland lake with her baby inside.
The attorney who represented her three years ago in a child neglect case said none of the details fit with the woman he represented.
“When I represented her, she was contrite, concerned, and she was polite — seemed like a caring mother,” Glen Carbon attorney Todd Taplin said. “This is a complete shock. I think it’s a complete shock to everybody.”
Cristy Campbell’s Facebook page includes multiple posts about her seven children who all survived what appears to be the deaths of both their parents. Six fled their burning home and the baby born about three months ago was rescued from the lake and revived by a firefighter. There are several posts about her family, including vacation pictures, children performing well in sports, one child getting braces and one child receiving a Do The Right Thing award.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
“There’s a lot to look through,” said Madison County Sheriff’s Capt. T. Mike Dixon. “We don’t have all of the information, and everything isn’t known at this point in time.”
The answers, Dixon said, might never be fully known.
“There are a lot of questions, including the ‘why,’” he said. “That might be something that we always have to speculate on — we may never know the answer as to ‘why.’ Homicide never makes sense, if that’s what this is.”
There are a lot of questions, including the why. That might be something that we always have to speculate on — we may never know the answer as to why. Homicide never makes sense, if that’s what this is.
Madison County Sheriff’s Capt. T. Mike Dixon
Firefighters were called to a blaze at Cristy Campbell’s home at 15 Dogwood Lane in Glen Carbon after children who resided in the home ran to a nearby Walmart for help. Six children who were in the home escaped unharmed, but the body of an adult was found in the house.
Campbell’s husband, Justin Campbell, 37, was identified as the man found dead in the house, according to Madison County Coroner’s Office. He died of a gunshot wound to the head, the coroner’s office said.
A little later Thursday morning, a witness saw a Nissan Armada go into Silver Lake outside Higland. A paramedic swam to the vehicle and rescued a 3-month-old baby. Cristy Campbell’s body was found in the lake a few hours later.
Sheriff John Lakin, at a news conference Thursday afternoon, said police had been called to the home about 50 times, for matters ranging from barking dogs to 911 hang-ups and domestic disputes.
Dixon said those calls are part of the investigation.
“Obviously, we’re looking into those issues to see if there’s some kind of motivating factor there,” he said. “We’re looking at everything.”
Dixon said police have not been made aware of any health problems for Cristy Campbell.
“As far as mental health, who knows. That’s something we may never know,” he said. “I don’t know that she’s seen a doctor for anything like that. But it’s something that will be looked at and asked about, I’m sure.”
As far as mental health, who knows. That’s something we may never know. I don’t know that she’s seen a doctor for anything like that. But it’s something that will be looked at and asked about, I’m sure.
Madison County Sheriff’s Capt. T. Mike Dixon
Dixon said 15 or more investigators continued working on the case Friday.
“Just to get the answers — to confirm absolutely that, yes, there is no longer any threat to the public,” Dixon said. “Everybody’s working hard to get the answers.”
Taplin represented Cristy Campbell in 2014, when she was charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly allowing a 5-year-old child to leave their home unattended. The charges were dropped after she completed parenting classes.
Taplin said he couldn’t discuss specifics of the case, but said Cristy Campbell “had a pretty good defense for that.”
Taplin said his knowledge of Cristy Campbell is only through the court case, but he said he recalls her as “quite different from what’s being presented in the press in these articles.”
When I represented her, she was contrite, concerned, and she was polite — seemed like a caring mother. This is a complete shock. I think it’s a complete shock to everybody.
Attorney Todd Taplin, represented Cristy Campbell