A suburban Chicago woman who reported that her 1-year-old son had been kidnapped is now being accused of killing the boy in a savage beating and concocting the abduction story as a cover-up.
Cook County prosecutors said Saturday that Lakeshia Baker of Maywood beat her son to death with a belt as her boyfriend restrained the child and placed his hand over the boy's mouth to muffle his screams. Both are charged with first-degree murder.
The toddler, Bryeon Hunter, has been missing since Tuesday and is now presumed dead, though authorities have yet to find a body. The report of his kidnapping prompted an Amber Alert and set off a search of abandoned buildings, trash bins and industrial areas by authorities and volunteers. Canine units were brought in, and a search of the Des Plaines River was carried out with divers and sonar equipment.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office says that under police questioning, Baker admitted beating the child on Monday so severely that he died the next day. Baker's attorney, Irv Frazin, did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Saturday.
A judge on Saturday ordered Baker, 22, held without bond, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Her boyfriend, Michael Scott, 21, who is not the child's biological father, was ordered held in lieu of $750,000 bail, the newspaper reported.
According to prosecutors, both defendants said the boy's body was placed in a backpack, but they each accused the other of disposing of it in the river.