Probe continues after child found near forest preserve; father in custody

SHARE Probe continues after child found near forest preserve; father in custody

In tears, the preschooler waved her arms as she wandered alone along Milwaukee Avenue on the edge of the Allison Woods Forest Preserve in Prospect Heights on Tuesday evening.

The 4-year-old knew her name and was able to tell Cook County sheriff’s investigators she’d been left in the forest preserve, Cara Smith, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said Wednesday.

RELATED: Young girl found alone in forest preserve ID’d by family

Why the little girl was left and how long her ordeal lasted remained unclear.

“She was far away from any place she was familiar with,” Smith told reporters at a briefing Wednesday.

Smith said both of the child’s parents are under investigation, but she refused to disclose more details about the investigation. She said the father is in custody out of state, declining to say more.

Smith said she was unaware of whether the parents have any criminal history.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had no prior contact with the family, spokeswoman Veronica Resa said Wednesday.

Three passersby spotted the girl walking along Milwaukee Avenue about 6:30 p.m. The passersby stayed with the girl until forest preserve police arrived, Smith said.

Other than being upset, the girl appeared unharmed, Smith said.

“She knew her first name, but not her last,” Smith said. “Nor did she know her parents’ names.”

The sheriff’s office issued a media alert Tuesday night, which quickly led investigators to identify the girl and her family, who are from Lake County.

While the investigation continues, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has placed the girl with other family members, Smith said.

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