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   Authorities say there was a dispute between the man suspected of killing five members of a Manchester, Illinois family and at least one of the victims, but they don't know what it was about.  

   Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond says investigators are running down reports that Rick Smith was involved in a custody dispute with a member of the family.  His brother has said the victims were all related to Smith's ex-girlfriend. 

   Illinois State Police have released the identities of five family members killed.  Authorities have identified the victims as brothers, one year old Brantley Ralston and five year old Nolan Ralston.  Their slain parents are 29 year old James Roy Ralston and 23 year old Brittney Luark, who was also five months pregnant. The fifth victim is Luark's grandmother and the great grandmother of the children, 67 year old Jo Ann Sinclair.

   Hospital officials in Springfield say the lone survivor of the shooting spree, the boys' six year old sister, has been upgraded from serious to fair condition.

   Smith was shot and later died following a gun battle with police.
 
   A trust fund has now been established at the Peoples Bank and Trust to help the family of the victims pay for funeral expenses.  
 
 
Donations can be made to:
 
Peoples Bank and Trust
102 South Main
PO Box 258
White Hall, IL 62092
 
 

Rain eases drought for some, but not all

Thursday, 25 April 2013 08:35 Published in Local News

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Rain that moved across the Midwest in the past week has helped ease drought conditions for some farmers.

   The weekly drought monitor report from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska was released Thursday. It shows the rain that caused flooding in some areas of the Midwest helped decrease the drought area from the upper Midwest into the western corn belt and central portions of the Rockies and Great Plains.

   But there's a new problem: The heavy rain has left fields muddy in Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois. And that means corn planting will be behind schedule.

   All of the country's drought-parched states aren't out of the woods. The report shows drought is intensifying from western Texas into northern California.

   

An 81-year-old Ballwin woman is recovering from a knife wound after police say she shot and killed her son. 

Ballwin police say it's not the first time they received a domestic disturbance call to the home of Joanna Walker in the 700 block of Clayworth.  

Just after one this morning, they found her son, 41-year-old Brian Walker, shot twice in the chest. He was taken to an area hospital where he died about an hour later.

 A knife and gun were recovered at the home. Police say the elderly woman suffered a deep knife wound to her hand and is being treated at an area hospital. She told police her son came after her with a knife and she acted in self defense. No word on if any charges have been filed.

 

 

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