Lawrence Southwood: Daughter says father passed her off as wife in 15-year relationship

December 30,

The Wilmington man charged with repeatedly raping a teenage quadriplegic has fathered two children with his own daughter, his abused offspring revealed Thursday. 

“He made it look like we were husband and wife,” Susan Clelland said of her father, 68-year-old Lawrence Southwood, and the monstrous “marriage” he made for her. 

Some neighbors and acquaintances were aware of Southwood’s 15-year relationship with his daughter, but no one would help, even after her father twice got her pregnant, said Clelland, 45. 

“A lot of people don’t want to get involved,” Clelland said. 

“I cried for help after the son was born,” she said. “Nobody wants to help you out, so you kind of cry inside.” 

Clelland said her father made her his “wife” after he was released from Stateville Correctional Center, where he served time on an attempted murder rap. She was 17, and they kept house together in Channahon. 

The relationship was exposed by Channahon cop David Margliano, who arrested Southwood on a felony sex charge in 1992. 

Southwood pleaded guilty to the felony sexual relations within families charge. He was sentenced to 30 months probation and 400 hours public service, and he was fined $5,000. 

He also was ordered to stay away from the boy and girl he fathered. Clelland said she has not been able to see them much herself. 

“They don’t have too much to do with me because DCFS got involved,” she said of her 23-year-old daughter and son, 20, and involvement by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. 

Depsite the incestuous relationship, Clelland said her children suffered from no birth defects. 

“It (incest) has to go on for two or three generations,” she explained. 

In the most recent incident, Margliano, now a detective sergeant also in the employ of State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s office, took Southwood into custody on Christmas Day, charging him with raping a 14-year-old quadriplegic for the last nine months. 

Clelland said her father met the teen’s mother at a local truck stop. He baby-sat her three children, ran errands for her, and performed yardwork and maintenance, Clelland said. 

Clelland believes her father more than capable of carrying out the sex attacks on the quadriplegic teen as alleged by the state. She also thinks he may have raped and killed 3-year-old Riley Fox, the young Wilmington girl whose murder has gone unsolved for the last 18 months. 

Southwood’s DNA is being compared to samples found on the dead girl’s body, police said. 

“I wouldn’t put it past him,” she said. “I don’t know, but I honestly wouldn’t put anything past him.” 

Clelland said she now is happily married and living in Braidwood. She “hasn’t 100 percent forgiven” her father, but the two have maintained a relationship and last spoke a week ago, she said. 

If the charges against Southwood are borne out in court, Clelland believes her father should be locked up for life. 

“Let him stay in prison,” she said. “Let him stay there. He doesn’t need to get out.