Prayer vigil held in Madison County for people with mental illnesses

People from different advocacy groups met outside the county health department in Wood River to talk about similar cases.

WOOD RIVER, Ill. - A prayer vigil was held in Madison County on Friday for people with mental illnesses. This comes a week after a trial for Keaun Cook was put on hold so he could undergo a mental evaluation. The Godfrey teen was arrested on terrorism charges.

Cook was accused of conspiring with a terrorist group to carry out mass casualty attacks on multiple venues in Madison County, but a judge said the court finds he may not be fit to stand trial.

"So in the end, this may not be an issue of criminal behavior," said Peter Dodge, vice president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southwestern Illinois. "It may be masquerading or giving the appearance to the public as criminal."

People from different advocacy groups met outside the county health department in Wood River to talk about similar cases.

"We had five different prayer stations and I just thought about in particular, with Bradley Lavite, what his journey was like so he was a veteran so we wanted to lift in prayer veterans and military families," event organizer AJ French said.

They say more resources are needed to prevent people with mental illnesses from being incarcerated or treated unfairly.

"If Keaun's grandmother had received the support that her grandson deserved, maybe none of that would have happened," French said.

Cook is being held without bond pending his mental evaluation.
 


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