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Death of 19-month-old Northlake boy ruled homicide

Sun-Times file photo

The death of a 19-month-old Northlake boy in May in the northern suburb has been ruled a homicide.

Donald Cheffer was found unresponsive at 1:55 p.m. on May 24 in the 0-100 block of King Arthur Court, according to Northlake police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

He was taken to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, where he was pronounced dead at 2:38 p.m., authorities said.

An autopsy at the time did not immediately rule on his cause and manner of death, but has since found that he died of multiple blunt force injuries to the head and neck due to an assault, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled a homicide.

Cheffer was in the care of family members other than his parents as part of a recent safety plan put in place by the state Department of Children and Family Services, police said.

DCFS was investigating allegations of abuse by the caregivers, agency spokeswoman Veronica Resa said. The investigation was pending as of Monday afternoon.

The Northlake police investigation is also ongoing and no charges have been filed as of Tuesday morning, according to the Det. Sgt. Juan Duarte.