by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

August 1, 2021

CHAMPAIGN, IL — According to authorities, an Illinois man is facing murder charges after a teen boy who lived around the corner was discovered beaten to death in a roadside ditch on Friday.

Steven Butler III, a 14-year-old from Champaign, Ill., went missing on Thursday evening after his father reported him missing.  The teen had left home around 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the nonprofit Missing Person Awareness Network.  According to police, the father reported him missing about two and a half hours later.  Police searched the neighborhood and conducted other investigations in an attempt to locate Steven but were unsuccessful.  A pair of bicyclists discovered a body about 1.4 miles away around 7 a.m. Friday, according to police.  It was determined to be Steven’s by investigators.

Daryl Vandyke, 55, was identified as a person of interest by police with the assistance of the local sheriff’s department and taken into custody by 11 a.m.  Before obtaining a warrant for the murder charge, police arrested him on an outstanding warrant in Douglas County, according to a statement from the Champaign Police Department.  After arresting him, police stated that they discovered “a potential crime scene” and obtained a search warrant for a private residence, where they recovered additional evidence.  According to the statement, the evidence led to first-degree murder charges.

Vandyke knew Steven’s father, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, who spoke to the News-Gazette, an area newspaper.  She also stated that the apparent cause of death was blunt force trauma and that an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.  Vandyke has a criminal record dating back to 1986, according to Champaign County jail records, including an allegation of sexual abuse and more than a dozen drug-related charges.

Vandyke is being held on a $2 million bond.