CHICAGO — Police in Chicago need help identifying a child whose dismembered remains were found in a city park lagoon. Authorities released a sketch Thursday to see if the public could name the child.
“At this point, we have a lot going on. But we still don’t know what happened. We’ve done a lot of really good, strong work. But we’re going to need help from the public,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “Whether or not this is a murder — we don’t know at this point — but the simple fact is a helpless child should never end up in this condition, nor should anybody for that fact.”
The child’s remains were discovered over the weekend in a lagoon in Chicago’s Garfield Park. The child is believed to be African American and between the ages of two and four-years-old.
“The dismemberment was postmortem. In other words, the child had been deceased when the event happened, when the feet and the head and the hands were removed. So that’s why i said we don’t even know if we have a murder. I’m troubled, really troubled by this as we all are.”
Officials said the child had short, curly black hair, brown eyes and the earlobes were not pierced. The lack of ear piercing suggests the child was likely a male, authorities said, but they have not yet determined if the child was a boy or a girl.
Chicago police say at this point there does not appear to be a link to any children from the region reported missing. The search has expanded nationwide with DNA, dental records and fingerprints now being reviewed by experts at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
“I don’t have the words strong enough to describe how reprehensible this incident is,” Chicago Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said. “The fact that somebody could do this to a child is frankly unimaginable. There’s somebody out there that knows what happened to this child. Do the right thing, turn yourselves in.”
Officials said two feet, two hands and a head, all of which belonged to a young child, were found inside the Garfield Park Lagoon on Chicago’s West Side over the weekend. They estimated that the body had been in the water for a week or two.
The cause and manner of death are pending the results of additional tests and an ongoing police investigation. Anyone with information on missing children fitting the description are asked to call (312) 744-8261.
CNN and NBC Chicago contributed to this report.