First they found the left foot, then the other one, before discovering both hands, a head. Now Chicago police are ramping up efforts to salvage the other dismembered remains of what appears to have been a young child.
The police announced Tuesday morning that city crews will drain a portion of the Garfield Park Lagoon. The child’s left foot was first discovered in the area by someone who called 911 on Saturday afternoon. Since then, divers have also found a 20-pound weight.
More than a million gallons of water will be pumped into sewers on Hamlin Boulevard, which was closed to traffic between Washington Boulevard and Lake Street. The city estimates that the lagoon will take up to three days to drain.
The city dammed off the east side of the lagoon near Central Park Avenue. Once the search is complete, future rain water will be allowed to refill the west side of the man-made body of water.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office noted that the child was either African American or mixed race, between 18 months and four years old. The remains, the office stated, were badly decomposed.
“The hair was short, curly and black in color; the eyes were brown; and the earlobes were no pierced, suggesting the child may be male (but female gender cannot be ruled out at present),” the examiner’s office noted in a statement. The office is also examining the finger and footprints of the child.
“This is a child that’s been around,” said Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) in a report by DNAinfo. “This is someone that should be missed. Do you know someone who had a kid last week and now they don’t have one? Ask questions. Make sure that child is alive.”
Ervin reportedly said the crime was “very perplexing” and that it isn’t “something that you hear of in the African American community. People are just shocked that somebody would do something like this.”
Authorities have asked that anyone with any information on missing children who may fit the medical examiner’s description call detectives at (312) 744-8261.