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Waukegan girl dies of child abuse injuries; mother’s boyfriend charged

Waukegan Police Department Facebook photo

A north suburban Waukegan girl who was hospitalized last week died of child abuse injuries and her death has been ruled a homicide, officials have determined.

Skylar Mendez, 4, died at 1:51 a.m. Sunday at Lurie Children’s Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy Wednesday found she died of multiple injuries caused by child abuse and her death was ruled a homicide.

The girl’s mother and 19-year-old Johnathan Fair brought Skylar to Vista Medical Center East about 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 after she suffered a head injury at their apartment in the 1600 block of Sunset Avenue in Waukegan, according to Waukegan Police Chief Joe Florip.

Officers were initially told the girl fell, but an investigation determined her injuries were caused by physical abuse, police said. Fair was identified as the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, who wasn’t home at the time the Skylar was injured.

Johnathan Fair | Waukegan police

Fair was taken into custody and charged with aggravated battery to a child, police said. His bail was set at $5 million and his next court date was set for Jan. 9.

Florip said he expected the charges against Fair to be upgraded in light of Skylar’s death, but referred further questions about the case to the Lake County state’s attorney’s office.

A representative for the state’s attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.