The murder of a baby leaves little room for celebration.
Yet Wednesday evening, the Marseilles Veterans of Foreign Wars expressed a measure of dignified appreciation to Detective Jake Callahan of the Marseilles Police Department for his role in pursuing justice for a baby who was beaten to death last June.
VFW Commander Scott Buennemeyer, who had arrived with other Post 5506 members Charles Erv and Glenn Borvansky, presented Callahan with a public safety award from the national VFW.
Callahan received the award with a handshake from Buennemeyer and a hug from Marseilles Police Chief Jim Hovious, while officials and audience members, including Callahan’s parents, applauded.
“As citizens of this town we should be grateful we have such a thorough investigator and someone as committed to public safety as Detective Callahan,” Buennemeyer said.
He explained it had been Hovious who had initiated the award process.
Callahan had been with the department full time for more than nine years when he was made a detective last year.
Less than a week later, the shocking child homicide took place in a Marseilles apartment.
“It was a horrible case,” Hovious said.
The infant suffered five blows to the head and eight to the torso, with the fatal blow fracturing the back of the child’s skull.
Hovious praised Callahan for his professional approach to the case.
“He was dedicated, focused,” said Hovious, a 29-year veteran of the city’s police department. “And even as much as I like to think I see all the angles, there a lot of things where Jake said ‘We should do this’ that I didn’t even think of. He left no stone unturned. From that, I’m happy to say, it resulted in a conviction.”
Last month, after pleading guilty on Feb. 23, Jeffrey L. Price, a man with a history of anger issues and criminal activity, was sentenced to 35 years in prison by Chief Judge H.Chris Ryan Jr. of the circuit court.
“It was a very trying case emotionally and challenging all the way around,” Callahan told The Times.
“But my goal was to make sure the child who died got justice — if there is justice for such an act.”