Pregnant teen dies, baby survives Christmas day shooting - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Pregnant teen dies, baby survives Christmas day shooting

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DOLTON, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

The last time family members saw Eva Casara was when she left Christmas Day. She asked what time dinner would be ready before leaving her grandmother's Southwest Side home.

Hours later, police say the 17-year-old, who was 5 1/2 months pregnant, was found shot, laying in the snow. Doctors were able to keep the teen alive long enough to deliver her baby, who survived the attack, her family said.

"She's just a shining light," Eva's mother said. "Anywhere she goes she lights up the place she's so beautiful inside as she is outside. She had a good heart."

Estrellita Casara talked through tears while describing the last time she saw her daughter.

"All I know is that she was happy when she woke up that morning and she was going out for Christmas," Estrellita said. "She got her gift and she left out around noon."

Police found the teenage girl between two buildings on the 1100-blockof East 152nd Street in south suburban Dolton.

She was shot in the head and family members say her purse, money and iPhone were gone. She went into cardiac arrest three times, her grandmother said.

Detectives believe the shooting happened at 152nd and Dorchester.

"As I was trying to get some sleep after work my wife came in and said there were gunshots that she heard that were kind of down the street," neighbor Nathaniel Bowman recalled.

Pastor Nathaniel Bowman has lived in this neighborhood for more than a decade. He says shots are sometimes fired on holidays so he and his wife never called police, though others did.

"They have a lot of good leads and hopefully we expect to solve this crime shortly," Dolton Police Chief John Franklin said. "Hopefully the next day or so."

 

Casara was kept alive long enough to deliver her baby, who miraculously survived the horrific attack.

Family members say the baby girl weighs less than two pounds.

"She's the size of your hand," Estrellita described. "Very strong. She's a strong little something. If anybody knows anything. I need help, help me with my princess."

Eva Casara dropped out of high school in September to take care of herself and her baby, but planned to get a GED and become a nurse, her grandmother said. Fannie Casara said she was the teen's legal guardian and that the girl lived with her in Chicago.

"She was very smart. She was tested at 12th grade levels in 8th grade. She said ‘I'm gonna get my GED (certificate) and then I'm going to college.' She wanted to be a nurse, to go on and become an emergency room nurse," Fannie Casara said.

The grandmother of four was pained at the thought of how long the pregnant teen had been left alone, bleeding in the snow: "Why would they? Why would you shoot her and why would you take her coat and hat and leave her in the ice and snow? How cruel."

She has no idea who might have killed her pregnant granddaughter.

Detectives are also searching for video surveillance from the area.

"We're following up on a lot of leads. (The South Suburban) Major Crimes Task Force are following up on the leads, talking to a lot of people who are potential witnesses. They're canvassing the area, waiting for that potential video to surface," Franklin said. "We hope to have this terrible crime solved maybe within another day."

Franklin said investigators are also looking into social media mentions of the crime.

"There are a lot of loose ends but we know this crime is solveable."

The teen was rushed to Franciscan St. Margaret Health Hospital in Hammond, Ind. but soon transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Dolton Police Chief John C. Franklin said.

Her baby remains in critical condition in the neonatal intensive care unit at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

No one was in custody Thursday evening.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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