GARFIELD PARK — “The park is closed. Get out of the park,” a Chicago police officer said in a booming voice over an SUV loudspeaker just south of the Garfield Park lagoon where divers continued to search for decomposed body parts of a toddler who had been brutally hacked to pieces, packed up in bags and sunk to the murky bottom.
The officer’s warning may have startled Charmaine Lowe and Jasmine Baymon, who strolled with friends and a toddler of their own in tow down a curvy walking path.
But it wasn't nearly as shocking as the gruesome news that someone — possibly a person from the neighborhood — could be so evil to do what had been done.
On Saturday, a jogger spotted the severed limb of a child near the lagoon shoreline. The discovery led police to find the hands, feet and head of a child that police believe was an African-American or mixed race child between 2 or 3 years old with short curly black hair and brown eyes.
“My heart has been aching since Saturday. Knowing it was a baby hurts. It hurts real bad,” Lowe said.
“I have grandkids. What can a baby do to you to do something like that? I pray to God they catch 'em. They need to be executed. They need to get everything that baby got.”
Water Department crews have started to drain the lagoon to allow authorities continue their search for the child’s torso, as the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office conducts DNA tests on other body parts in hopes of identifying the child’s parents, and ultimately the people responsible for such a reprehensible crime.
After a police news conference Wednesday, an officer strung red murder tape marked with a warning, “Danger Do Not Enter,” between poles and trees blocking access to the lagoon’s south shoreline.
Uniformed officers patrolling Garfield Park stopped Baymon and her friends as part of the Chicago olice department’s door-to-door search for clues and people who might have information about the baby’s death.
“They need to get everybody who knew something, everybody down to the grandma, and punish them for this,” Baymon said. “It’s crazy, crazy anyone would do that to a baby.”
Jasmine Baymon holds up a community alert. [DNAinfo/Mark Konkol]
Lowe said she hopes neighbors — or anybody who knows anything that could bring justice for the helpless child found in the murky lagoon of the pastoral West Side park where she grew up — will break their silence and cooperate with police.
“This park, I don’t care about what this means for this park. It’s nothing. This happened to a baby. They say the children are our future. How can you kill a baby like that?” Lowe said in the stern tone of a tough grandmother who doesn’t take any mess.
“That baby is related to somebody. Somebody knows that baby’s gone. Someone knows who that baby is, and it’s gonna come out. And that somebody needs to start talking right now.”
If that somebody is you, listen to Grandma Lowe and speak up.
Chicago police detectives are waiting for your call at (312) 744-8261.
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