This quiet Effingham County community was rocked Sunday evening by the brutal stabbing of a mother and daughter in their home.
Family members identified the victims as Kimberly Joan (Jodi) Bourland, 43, and her daughter, Lauran Christine Huntington, 15. Mother and daughter received multiple stab wounds at their home at 707 Illinois St. on the north side of Edgewood near the village’s baseball field early Sunday evening, Effingham County State’s Attorney Ed Deters stated in a news release.
Bourland is also known as Jodi Harris.
Gary B. Schmitt, 46, of Troy was arrested shortly after the attack. He is in Effingham County Jail on two counts of aggravated battery, pending a court appearance sometime today. Deters declined to comment on any type of relationship between Schmitt and the victims.
Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet referred comment to Deters Monday. The state’s attorney said more information would be made available during Schmitt’s bond hearing today.
Deters said sheriff’s deputies were called to the Bourland home at 6:03 p.m. Sunday. He said the police investigation is ongoing and the filing of charges is presently under review by his office.
Schmitt is the son of the late Jack Schmitt of Effingham, who was found murdered last summer in his home in Shenandoah subdivision. Effingham Police Chief Mike Schutzbach, who is Jack Schmitt’s nephew and Gary Schmitt’s cousin, would not confirm whether the younger Schmitt was a suspect in his father’s death or whether he has now been linked to that death.
“We have sent some information to the state’s attorney’s office, but we have nothing we are saying to the media at this point,” the chief said.
Schutzbach said it was unknown to him whether Sunday’s attack had anything to do with the death of his uncle.
A neighbor said Huntington ran to her home across the street from the stabbing scene after she was attacked.
“I took care of her and called 911,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. “She expressed concern about her mother.”
The woman said she had known the mother for many years.
“They are very pleasant, very family oriented,” she said.
The woman admitted the Sunday evening scene shook her emotionally.
“There are many different things that I’m trying to process,” she said. “I understand people are asking a lot of questions, but I’m not ready to share yet.”
Kent Ort, who lives east of the victims on the corner of Hickory and Illinois, said the incident has made him more security-conscious.
“It’s got me locking things a little tighter,” Ort said.
Ort said he didn’t realize anything was amiss in the next block until police and ambulance personnel arrived.
“I was sitting at my kitchen table and saw lights flashing across the kitchen window,” he said.
Ort said the victims lived in the front apartment of a former church that had been converted into apartments. Blood was plainly visible Monday morning on the concrete and snow near the front door of the apartment.
Linda Cook, another neighbor who lives west of the victims, said the victims are “good people.”
“Anytime you hear something like this, it’s scary,” Cook said. “It’s terrible what happened.”
The victims were taken to St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, then transferred to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Their official condition was unknown at presstime, but Jim Huntington Jr., Lauran’s father, said both victims are awake and talking to medical personnel and visitors.
Huntington said his daughter had been using a breathing tube, but that had been removed Monday.
“Everything has been stitched up and she’s off the breathing tube,” he said. “She’s alert and awake, though semi-sedated for pain.”
Huntington said both victims had been released from intensive care Monday afternoon. Both, he said, should be released from the hospital later this week.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.