NEWS ALERT: Police Have Person Of Interest Anna Church Beating

| October 3, 2009

UNION CO. — Illinois State Police and the Anna Police Department are requesting the public’s help in locating a person of interest for the aggravated battery of two women. The beating happened Monday, September 28, 2009 at the First Baptist Church of Anna in Anna.

According to a news release released by ISP, police are searching for 45-year old Willis E. Bates – he’s also known as Ed or Eddie. He’s a white male with a shaved head. He’s 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 235 pounds. Investigators say Bates was recently released from prison.

Bates is possibly clean shaven and known to wear a red bandana on his head, according to ISP news release. Anyone with information should contact Anna Police Department at 618-833-8571 or dial 911.

State police have been on Bates trial for the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile the victims Leona Mount and Mary Shepard continue to recover. Church leaders have stepped up security at the chapel. The First Baptist Church doors are locked, and there’s a buzzer to alert those inside of visitors. Everyone who stops by has to sign it.

Anna police chief Dale Foster says, law enforcement continue to work the streets. "We’re still following up on every lead that we get. And nothing new has developed yet, as of now."

Other departments are also helping search for suspects. "We’ve called in support of them to help us because of the leads that we’re getting. Also, the Union County Sheriff Department has been helping us and Cobden Police Department is helping us also."

Illinois State Police have also increased their presence in town. "We’ve stepped up patrol around town. We’ve been talking to everybody that we can talk to- to see if they have seen anything that could give us some help on the case."

Foster says Anna residents can help too. "If they see anything out of the ordinary just give us a call. We’ll be there quick as we can to check them out, check out a vehicle, whatever they see, just let us know."

Foster says, he understands the public may be paranoid and rightfully so, but he’s encouraging the people of Anna to do their best to continue to lead normal lives.

"Go ahead and do like you would do everyday. We will catch him hopefully- eventually."

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Category: Church Security

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