Sad news spread across central Illinois recently with the identification of Todd Ledbetter as the latest homicide victim in Champaign County.
Todd also was the latest homeless person to be killed in Illinois.
I met Todd several years ago when he was living on the streets of Bloomington. I was not aware he had moved on to Champaign. His behavior attracted media attention when someone covered his favorite bench in downtown Bloomington with a sticky, tar-like substance. Todd rightly surmised the meanness of the act was directed towards him and other homeless people who frequented the area. The incident generated a community dialogue between downtown business owners and residents who live with the consequences of homelessness and people living on the street.
Anyone who knew Todd will admit he could be argumentative at times, a trait that made him more welcome in some places than others. He spent time at Abundant Life in Christ Church where Pastor Charles Ahrends extends his generosity and open doors to everyone.
Todd was beaten and robbed by individuals who stole more than money. After his death, Todd’s friends held a memorial service to make sure he was not forgotten. He would have enjoyed the media coverage of their tribute. May he rest in peace.