CHICAGO (AP) — A sketch artist is examining the head of a toddler found last weekend in a Chicago lagoon to create drawing that can be used to identify the child, police said Wednesday.
At a news conference near a lagoon at Garfield Park where the decomposed head, hands and feet were found, police said they hope someone will recognize the child when the drawing is distributed.
Police also suggested that even a vague description they have of the child — African-American between the ages of 2 and 4 years old — might be enough to help the investigation.
“If you are aware of a small child … that you have not seen in your neighborhood in the last couple of weeks and you find that unusual or suspicious to call us,” John Escalante, the department’s chief of detectives, said in a plea for help from the public. “If you are aware of, for example, of a family that has a small child that suddenly packed up and moved … and you think that’s unusual or suspicious, please call us.”
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Authorities also spoke directly to the killer or killers.
“Do the right thing, turn yourself in,” department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “We are going to find you.”
Police said they think the remains were dumped in the lagoon within the last week or two, though they have not said when they believe the child was killed. They also said they have not determined a cause of death, but Guglielmi said that tests revealed the body was dismembered after the child died.
Detectives have been combing through missing persons reports both in and out of Chicago and officers and volunteers have been going door-to-door near the park asking for help. DNA tests were being conducted, police said, and fingerprints would be collected as part of the effort to identify the child.
Divers and others have searched the lagoon, and authorities started draining it Wednesday in the hopes of finding the rest of the toddler’s body and possibly other evidence.