Chicago police release sketch of dismembered child
CAPTIONPolice sketch of body in Garfield Park lagoon
Chicago Police Department
A Chicago Police Department sketch based on body parts of a child found in Garfield Park lagoon.
Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune
Chicago police continue in their search for evidence as the Garfield Park Lagoon is drained on Sept. 8, 2015.
By Rachel CrosbyChicago Tribune
Chicago Police have released a sketch of a child whose dismembered remains were found in the Garfield Park Lagoon.
The drawing was distributed at a Thursday morning news conference at the lagoon, where police have been searching since a child's foot was found in the water Saturday afternoon.
The drawing was done by veteran sketch artist Tim McPhillips with the Cook County sheriff's department. McPhillips said he relied on photos, x-rays and a firsthand look at remains to make the drawing "as accurate as I can get it."
Police released a sketch and said at a news conference Wednesday that the Cook County Sheriff's Department will need help from the public in identifying a child found in a lagoon. (WGN-TV)
With help from the Cook County medical examiner's office, police have said the child appears to have been African-American and roughly 2 to 3 years of age.
So far the head, feet and hands of the child have been recovered from the lagoon, but authorities say they are badly decomposed. Police are still searching for the torso and have begun draining the west side of the lagoon.
About 100 officers, detectives and divers are working the case, according to the department.
Investigators are withholding some details because "only the person who did it is going to know certain things," Chicago Police Superintendent said at the news conference.
McCarthy acknowledged that police have not ruled out that the child died by accident. "This could be a tragic case of somebody panicking and not knowing what to do," he said, still calling it "heinous."
Officials say the body was likely that of an African-American boy between 8 months and 4 years of age. But they cautioned that a "mixed-race heritage" and the possibility the body is that of a girl cannot be ruled out. And the age could be closer to 2 to 3 years old.
"All the body parts appear to be from a child of approximately the same age," according to a statement from police and the medical examiner's office. "The hair was short, curly and black in color; the eyes were brown; and the earlobes were not pierced, suggesting the child may be male (but female gender cannot be ruled out at present)."
The first remains were discovered Saturday afternoon when someone called 911 to report a foot floating in the lagoon. It turned out to be the left foot of the child, according to authorities.
With all the evil in the world, I will not be surprised if this was a ritual dismemberment and the rest of the baby's body was eaten by some cult.
AT 12:43 PM SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
Police later found the child's other foot and both hands toward the north end of the lagoon about 25 yards away. A 20-pound weight was found nearby, authorities said. Late the next day, the child's head was discovered near where other body parts were found.
As the west lagoon is drained, detectives have widened their search.
Thursday morning, two patrol cars were parked on the east side of the lagoon, previously untouched. The once-open Central Park Avenue Bridge sidewalk, which separates and overlooks the east and west lagoons, was also taped off.
"We're checking the rest of the park to ensure that we didn't miss anything," said Steve Georgas, a deputy chief overseeing the search.
McCarthy acknowledged that police have not ruled out that the child died by accident. This could be a tragic case of somebody panicking and not knowing what to do," he said, still calling it "heinous."
Police said they have been in contact with Gary authorities about a 2-year-old boy reported missing with his mother earlier this summer. Officials said they do not believe the case is linked but have not ruled anything out.
The sketch artist said he was happy he to assist in Chicago police's effort to identify the child, but said it the case was difficult.
"I have two granddaughters," McPhillips said.
Anyone with information about missing children fitting the description was asked to contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8261, send a text to CRIMES (274637) or call 1-800-535-STOP.
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