Body of toddler pulled from Des Plaines River - FOX 10 News |

Body of toddler pulled from Des Plaines River

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NORTH RIVERSIDE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The body of a child has been recovered from the Des Plaines River in North Riverside on Tuesday.

The body of a "young male" child was pulled from the Des Plaines River in McCormick Woods near 31st Street and First Avenue in the western suburb, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff's office.

SEE: Maywood mother, boyfriend charged with killing 1-year-old

About 3:30 p.m., kayaker found a body caught in the branches of a fallen tree in the river near 31st Street and 1st Avenue, about three and a half miles south of where the little boy's mother and her boyfriend possibly dumped the body, said Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

The body, which was partially decomposed, but not the face, "bears strong similarities" to the Maywood toddler Bryeon Hunter, who went missing in April after he was allegedly beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend, Dart said.

Hunter's mother, Lakesha Baker, 21, initially told police her child was kidnapped -- prompting state police to issue an amber alert, authorities said. She later admitted to police that on April 15, her boyfriend, Michael Scott, 21, covered the child's mouth with his hand and held him down while she beat him with a belt, according to Cook County prosecutors.

The child ended up on the bathroom floor, "moaning and having difficulty breathing," prosecutors said. Bryeon's torso was purple and bruised.

The mother and boyfriend blamed each other for disposing of the child in the river.

Baker and Scott were each charged with murder. Baker is being held without bond, and Scott was ordered held on $750,000 bond.

Curry, Maywood's police chief, said the body is en route to the Cook County medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

While it's not certain yet that the body is of Bryeon, Curry said if they did indeed find the little boy's remains, then he'll feel a sense of closure.

"While we seek justice he can be at rest," Curry said.

He pointed to the persistent searchers who tirelessly looked for the boy.

And Curry said he's truly grateful to the kayaker who found the body.

"He never gave up," Curry said. "He is the reason we can begin to put closure to this."

If you'd like to help with funeral services for Bryeon Hunter, the family has set up a fund. Make checks payable to the Hyde Park Union Church and reference the Bryeon Hunter Fund with attention to Reverend Susan Johnson. The Hyde Park Union church is located at 5600 S. Woodlawn in Chicago.


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