Widow of former Illinois mayor gets strangled to death by her son

Troy, Illinois- A shocking crime has left the community reeling as a local man stands accused of murdering his own mother, who was the widow of a former mayor. Early Wednesday morning, police discovered the lifeless body of 60-year-old Norma Caraker in her home, with her son, Neil Howard, 44, also present at the scene.

Norma Caraker was not just known for her connection to the city’s former mayor, Charles “Tom” Caraker, who served the city from 1997 to 2013 and passed away in 2018. She was also a beloved figure in the community, working as a waitress at two local restaurants and generously donating her tips to charitable causes. She was known for her warm personality, often sharing her work schedules on social media to invite friends and patrons to visit her.

According to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, Howard is alleged to have strangled his mother to death. He was arrested without incident, and he was later charged with first-degree murder. The State’s Attorney, Thomas A. Haine, praised the local police department and assisting agencies for their diligent work in the case.

Howard is currently being held on a $3 million bond at the Madison County Jail. Information regarding his legal representation was not immediately available.

Neil Howard, the accused, is one of Norma Caraker’s children from a previous marriage. The tragic incident has left the community mourning the loss of a beloved figure and grappling with the shocking circumstances of her death.