MAYWOOD, Ill. — Authorities in suburban Chicago resumed searching a river Saturday for the body of a 1-year-old boy who they believe was beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend.
Bryeon Hunter has been missing since his mother reported last week that he had been kidnapped by three men who also attacked her. The report prompted an Amber Alert and a search of the area near their Maywood home.
Prosecutors say Lakeshia Baker and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, later admitted that the story was a cover-up.
According to court documents, Baker and Scott told police that the boy died in their bathroom after Baker beat him with a belt while Scott restrained him and covered his mouth so other family members wouldn’t hear the child’s cries.
Baker also told police that she regularly beat her son with the belt, and that Scott beat him with plastic hangers, “because he was crying and whining,” police contend in the court filing.
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 Des Plaines River.
Attorneys for Baker and Scott could not be reached for comment Saturday. Baker’s attorney, Irv Frazin, told reporters after a court appearance last week that she is innocent and that she herself has been repeatedly beaten by Scott.
Authorities began searching the Des Plaines River last week, but the search had to be called off after heavy rains and flooding made it too difficult.
Maywood Police Officer Michael Hurd said Saturday that a team of professional searchers returned to the river with Maywood police and Cook County Sheriff’s deputies. They were using sonar equipment to search the area near where Baker and Scott said the boy’s body was disposed.
Baker, 22, and Scott, 21, both have been charged with first-degree murder. Baker is being held without bond, while Scott is being held in lieu of $750,000 bond.