Garfield Park lagoon being drained as search continues

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The Garfield Park lagoon was being drained Tuesday afternoon as investigators continue to search for more body parts. A child’s severed head, hands and feet were found over the weekend. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

City workers on Tuesday began draining the Garfield Park lagoon where a child’s hands, feet and head were discovered over the weekend.

Chicago Police Department divers returned to the lagoon, where they continued to search as they walked along the shore.

Chicago Department of Water Management trucks and workers also began to arrive at the lagoon Tuesday morning as police continued to guard the perimeter of the park.

“At the end of the day, whoever did this needs to be found,” Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said Tuesday morning.

An initial examination of the body parts determined the child is likely African-American, between 18 months and 4 years old. The best estimate is between 2 and 3 years old, according to a joint statement from the medical examiner’s office and the Chicago Police Department. All the body parts appeared to be of a child the same age. The hair was short, curly and black in color. The eyes were brown and the child’s ears weren’t pierced, according the statement.

“All efforts will be made to scientifically identify these body parts, which were badly decomposed,” the statement said.

A child’s foot was discovered in the lagoon Saturday, sparking a search that uncovered the other body parts.

The medical examiner’s office will consult with a dentist and other specialists to glean more information from the badly decomposed body parts, office spokesman Frank Shuftan said Tuesday.

Shuftan said that DNA samples taken from the human remains have been submitted for testing.

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The medical examiner’s office notified police that the victim was dismembered after death, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has offered time off and counseling to the first responders who discovered the remains, Guglielmi said.

“The officers were affected by what they found, but they were dedicated to finding the rest,” he said.

The Marine Unit officers were in their wet suits longer than normal and one was treated for dehydration, Guglielmi said.

“This is something we are taking extremely personally,” he said.

Guglielmi said Chicago Police detectives don’t think the remains belong to King Walker, a 2-year-old boy who disappeared from Gary, Ind., with his aunt on July 25. Gary detectives inquired about the possibility.

Police and the medical examiner’s office are asking anyone with leads on missing children fitting the description to contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8261.

Contributing: Frank Main

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Chicago Department of Water Management trucks and workers began to arrive at the Lagoon Tuesday morning as police continue to guard the perimeter of the park. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

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Equipment was brought in early Tuesday as workers prepared to drain the Garfield Park lagoon. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

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