CHICAGO — Police say the investigation into the death of 2-year-old Kyrian Knox has been "very frustrating" and the two people who were caring for him are not cooperating.
Knox, who lived in Rockford, was found dismembered in a Garfield Park lagoon in September. Dean Andrews, Chicago Police chief of detectives, said on Thursday the man and the woman police want to interview were caring for Knox and were the last known people to see him before he went missing.
But neither is cooperating with police, Andrews said, making it harder to advance to the investigation.
Police have gone to places they believe the two are staying and left their contact information, but the two have not responded to officers' "numerous" attempts to reach them, Andrews said.
"I hope that somebody sees this in the media and convinces these people, 'Look, you need to cooperate, you need to help them,' " Andrews said.
Kyrian's mother, Lanisha Knox, said she and her best friend, Shaquila Harris, were moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when they left their two 2-year-old children in the care of the two, police said. The two told police they looked after Kyrian until two men and a woman approached one of the caretakers in Rockford, told him they were Lanisha Knox's friends and he gave the young boy to them, police said.
It wasn't until weeks later that the man initially watching Kyrian said he realized Kyrian was missing and contacted Rockford police, Andrews said. The woman police want to talk with said she did not witness what happened, but she said the man came home and told her about giving Kyrian to the people, police said. Police have not been able to find the three people to whom the man said he gave Knox.
The man and the woman spoke to Rockford Police, but they gave a less detailed version of their story to Chicago Police, Andrews and Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said. Once the dismembered remains from the lagoon were identified as belonging to Kyrian, Chicago police began reaching out to the two again and received no response, police said.
"We don't believe they're running," Duffin said. "They're basically witnesses. We don't understand their unwillingness to cooperate.
"This has been a very frustrating investigation and we know we can advance it if they would come and talk to us."
The woman was last seen in Rockford. The man was last seen in Milwaukee, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Without them, the investigation is "not gonna advance easily," Guglielmi said.
Police "want to talk to them as witnesses. People of interest don't mean suspects," Guglielmi said. "We've made it very clear that we are looking for them. ... Think about it, these are the last people to see Kyrian alive until he was dismembered."
Andrews said Chicago has a "no snitch" problem that keeps people, even those who aren't guilty of a crime, from speaking to police out of fear and other reasons.
"The Chicago Police Department has some difficulty in getting people to cooperate," Andrews said.
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