Who was Norma Caraker? Illinois man charged with first-degree murder for strangling his mother to death

TROY, ILLINOIS: Norma Caraker, the widow of a former mayor was killed by her son inside a home as police found her unresponsive on Wednesday morning, September 14.


The prosecutors issued a press release stating that the Illinois man is accused of strangling his mother who worked as a waitress at the Troy Family Restaurant and another local restaurant, according to Fox 2.

Who is Neil Howard?

Caraker’s 44-year-old son Neil Howard was inside the home when police found her body, according to the Office of the Madison County State’s Attorney.


Prosecutors stated that Howard who allegedly strangled his mother to death was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Troy, Ill. man charged with strangling his mother

Howard is one of Caraker’s children from her previous marriage. Investigators have not disclosed further information on the motive behind the killing.


Following his arrest, state’s attorney Thomas A Haine stated, “I commend the Troy Police Department and the assisting agencies for their tireless, thorough work.”


“Thanks to the efforts of our local police agencies — and the efforts of community leaders past and present — we have safe neighborhoods in Madison County,” he added.

The suspect is currently held at the Madison County Jail on a $3 million bond, according to the state’s attorney’s office. It remains unclear whether Howard has retained an attorney.


Who was Charles ‘Tom’ Caraker?

Norma’s husband Charles ‘Tom’ Charles was a former Troy Mayor who died in 2018. He served as a mayor from 1997 to 2013, reported KSDK.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, the murder victim had been working at two local restaurants as a waitress.

Norma Caraker donated her tips to charitable causes

Caraker, who was also a grandmother, was reportedly a generous person who donated her tips to charitable causes.

She took to Facebook to post her schedules at the restaurant so people would know when to visit her.

She would donate the tips from each day to an animal rescue organization named Partners for Pets. Friends say she raised more than $1,000 each year.

Caraker’s former customer Julie Atwell responded to the news of her tragic death as she said, “It breaks my heart.”

Dawn Mushill, president and CEO of the Troy, St Jacob, Maryville, Marine Chamber of Commerce said “Norma is going to be so missed in that family,” and added that she was someone who always brought a smile to her customers she greeted.

“She made her job look easy and it’s not,” said Mushill.

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