Will County advocates helping Plainfield Township mom recovering from knife attack

A small memorial of balloons and toys outside of a Plainfield Township residence where a 6-year-old victim was stabbed to death on Oct. 14, 2023. The boy's mother was also attacked as well but survived. Joseph Czuba, 71, has been charged with the first-degree murder of the boy and attempted first-degree murder of the mother.

A Plainfield Township woman has been released from the hospital after her landlord allegedly attacked her and stabbed her 6-year-old son to death Saturday on the basis of their Islamic faith.

On Thursday, Hanaan Shahin, 32, was released from the hospital and will have a long road to recover physically, mentally and emotionally, said Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dan Jungles.

“She went through something that no mother should have to go through,” Jungles said.

Shahin and her 6-year-old son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, were attacked by Joseph Czuba, 71, who was their landlord while they resided at a home in Plainfield Township, prosecutors said. Czuba is accused of stabbing the child 26 times with a military-style knife.

Czuba has been charged with the murder of Wadea and attempted murder of Shahin. He also has been charged with committing a hate crime against both victims on the basis of their Islamic faith.

Czuba, a regular listener of conservative talk radio, had grown increasingly angry and paranoid over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict before the Oct. 14 attack, according to prosecutors.

Czuba is due back in court Oct. 27.

A supporter holds a sign at a vigil for Wadea Al-Fayoume at Prairie Activity & Recreation Center on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023 in Plainfield.

Jungles said the sheriff’s office has been working with multiple advocates with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other organizations to help Shahin.

One of them is Merchants and Manufacturers Bank, which is accepting donations for the benefit of the victim at their locations in Joliet and Channahon.

“The first thing we did after she got discharged was take her to the bank to set up this account,” Jungles said.

Christy Lister, mortgage manager for Merchants and Manufacturers Bank, said Jungles had reached out to her because he wanted to make sure that Shahin was going to receive the help she needed. She said people can go the bank locations and drop off checks for the account.

“We set up an account and we started this to raise money for her so she could move forward in life,” Lister said.

Wadea’s shocking death has drawn condolences from local, state and national leaders, including President Joe Biden and Gov. JB Pritzker. Thousands attended Wadea’s funeral and a vigil held in his memory in Plainfield earlier this week.

Organizers of the vigil have called for people to rise above the hatred that led to Wadea’s death. They also criticized the dehumanization of Muslims and Palestinians in the media during the Israel-Hamas conflict.