Paternal relatives of missing 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter expressed concern that they are not getting information from Maywood police in the baby’s disappearance.
Saturday, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office charged Hunter’s mother, Lakeshia Baker of the west suburban town, and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, with the child’s murder.
April 16 the pair reported the child abducted saying that he was taken as he and the mother walked down the street in Maywood. An Amber Alert was issued for the boy. But the mother’s and boyfriend’s account of what happened to Hunter quickly unraveled, leading each of them to point the finger at the other.
In announcing the murder charges Saturday, prosecutors said the abduction story was a cover up for the beating that both adults indicate left the baby dead.
Baker, 22, beat her son to death, prosecutors said she admitted. Scott, 21, allegedly covered the boy’s mouth to muffle his cry. According to the charges, after beating Hunter in the bathroom of the home the couple and two children – including Hunter and another young child – share with a relative, Scott and Baker admit to putting Hunter’s dead body into a backpack.
The pair differ on how the body was disposed but both said the backpack with the dead child in it was placed in a nearby river. The Des Plaines River runs through the town, which borders the city of Chicago to the east. Despite canine unit and marine searches, the baby’s body has yet to be found.
Charles Montgomery told the Chicago Defender that he and the paternal grandmother are frustrated and “fed up” with not being able to get more information from the Maywood police or the maternal family in this case.
Montgomery identified himself as the second cousin of Bryant Hunter, Bryeon Hunter’s biological father. Bryant Hunter is currently serving a six-year sentence in the Lincoln Correction Center in Lincoln, Illinois for a felony drug conviction.
The cousin said Bryant Hunter and Baker had been a couple living in Chicago near 71st and Halsted Streets up until Hunter’s arrest and incarceration. Montgomery said after the father was locked up in March 2012, Baker began a relationship with Scott.
The paternal grandmother is “going through a thing about her grandbaby,” said Montgomery.
Baker’s mugshot shows the mother with what appears to be two blackened and swollen eyes. Montgomery said Scott is abusive to her. The cousin suspects that it was the boyfriend who may have harmed Bryeon.
“If you want to find the baby, they have to start with that guy,” said Mongtomery.
Baker is being held without bail in Cook County Jail on first-degree murder charges. Scott’s bond was set at $750,000.
Members of the mother’s family, friends and other supporters gathered in Maywood Tuesday evening for a vigil in honor of the Bryeon. They all want to know where the boy’s body is and what happened to him.