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.
In the wake of bombings at the Boston Marathon and flooding closer to home, Missouri Governor Nixon was in St. Charles Thursday morning for the State Emergency Management Agency's annual conference.
Speaking in front of hundreds of emergency responders at the St. Charles Convention Center, Governor Nixon called on the Missouri Senate to reverse their recent budget cuts to public safety and homeland security funding. The Senate's 2014 budget slashes federal funds in half to about $21 million dollars. Nixon said the funds are crucial to those in need.
"These folks needs these assets," Nixon said. "We need to make sure we have response capacity. This is not political and this should not be controversial."
Nixon said that without vital federal emergency funds, the state's response to recent flooding and even possible homeland security threats would not be up to speed.
"I do not know why the Senate left it our of their budget, but we need to fix it," Nixon said.
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.
A couple of tests and drills to warn you about for today (Thursday).
First, St. Louis City will test the emergency siren system at 11 a.m. this morning (Thursday). You will hear a 30-second tone.
The FCC has required St. Louis City to test the sirens because of a change in bandwidth.
Officials said it won't sound like a tornado siren and wants residents to know it is just a test.
In North St. Louis County some of your may have noticed an increased police presence . That will continue today as County officers perform routine training around their Wellston Police Academy.
Police note that helicopters will be taking off and landing several times during the training.
ILLINOIS (AP) - Another governor is trying to lure away Illinois companies.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to Illinois' top 100 companies this week asking them to buy a "one way" ticket to Florida. The Republican says Florida is undergoing "an incredible economic turnaround" and touts the state's credit ratings.
Scott also scrutinizes Illinois' high taxes, including a 2011 income tax increase.
His letter comes the same week Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in Chicago trying to poach companies. Perry says he wants to spark a competition between the states and has criticized Illinois' nearly $100 billion in pension debt.
Governors from Indiana, Wisconsin and New Jersey have made similar attempts.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has dismissed them as publicity attempts and says Illinois is a great place to do business.
All of the street, bridge and interstate improvements planned for downtown St. Louis are on track to be finished on time. That was the message from Missouri and Illinois transportation engineers when they briefed the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Wednesday.
High water on the Mississippi River has caused some delays for crews building the new River Bridge, but project officials say the work continues and they still expect to finish by early next year.
Some of the other projects planned for downtown St. Louis over the next two years include the park that will cap the I-70 depressed lanes, new ramps connecting I-70 and I-55 to the Poplar Street Bridge and a year-long resurfacing project on the MLK bridge.
One man is dead, shot by police after allegedly pulling a gun on officers near downtown St. Louis Wednesday night. It happened about 9:30 p.m. at 8th and Carr, about a block north of the Edward Jones Dome, which is a hot spot policing area.
Police say two men were in a car that sped away when police tried to pull it over. Police pursued until it crashed.
The 25 year old passenger took off on foot. Two officers chased him.
Police say the suspect pulled out a .45-caliber pistol with extended clips and pointed it them. That's when they shot him. The suspect died after being taken to a hospital.
The car's driver was taken into custody at the crash scene.
Both officers involved in the foot chase have been placed on routine administrative leave.
A Kirkwood middle school student will answer to the juvenile courts after allegedly threatening gun violence at Nipher Middle School Wednesday.
Kirkwood police say the student had made threats against two classmates and the school in general while speaking with two acquaintances. They alerted school officials of the threats.
The student was taken into custody.
Police say there is no indication that the student had tried to act on the threats. And student's family told police that the child doesn't have access to guns.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois prison-monitoring group says Menard Correctional Center inmates reported concern about "aggressive cellmates" during a visit shortly before a string of three inmate murders since January.
The John Howard Association visited the prison in far southern Illinois in December. Its report, released late yesterday, said several older inmates were worried about cellmates. And the independent watchdog said housing inmates with long sentences with those facing shorter stretches "can be problematic."
Authorities have charged three Menard inmates with murdering cellmates since January. In one, a 40-year-old murderer is accused of beating and strangling a 25-year-old cellmate. In another, a 23-year-old inmate is charged with fatally beating a 64-year-old cellmate.
Corrections officials responded in the report that they review inmates before housing them together.