Authorities in Chicago arrested three people for concealing the death of a 4-year-old boy, Manuel Aguilar, who was found dead and wrapped in a burned blanket in an abandoned Chicago home, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
At around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 2, a fire crew arrived at an abandoned home in the 1400 block of West Marquette after receiving a call about a small fire.
Upon arrival, three people — Alyssa Garcia, 27, Christian Camarena, 19, and a 17-year-old boy – were seen running from the abandoned house.
Horrifying details of abuse, starvation presented in case of boy found in burning home https://t.co/4j2hS7SmQO— Tweeting Gentleman™ (@TwettGentleman) August 5, 2016
Chicago police were able to catch the fleeing suspects, who reeked of lighter fluid, and they were all taken to the police station for questioning.
Meanwhile, firefighters put the fire out and began searching the abandoned house. To their astonishment, they made a gruesome discovery.
Underneath a pile of clothes and debris in the basement, the fire crew discovered the body of a small child.
The child’s body was later transported to a local medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.
The Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford stated that they initially thought the child was a girl between the age of 9-months and 2-years-old, but the medical examiner identified the body as Aguilar, a boy who lived about a mile from where his body was found.
It was not immediately clear how the child died, as autopsy reports are pending, but authorities determined that the child had been dead for quite some time.
According to WGNTV, it was later uncovered that the child’s mother, Garcia, starved and beat the child before intentionally trying to conceal his death by setting his body on fire inside of an abandoned Chicago home.
“The boy was often made to remain completely naked because he would urinate on himself. They described the child as being so skinny that his ribs were showing,” Assistant state’s attorney Jamie Santini said.
Body of young child found after fire in abandoned building in Englewood https://t.co/z566cUS0EL— marcella raymond (@MarcellaWGN) August 3, 2016
Neighbors who saw the boy when he was alive stated that “you could see the outline of his bones through his emaciated body.”
After police questioned the three suspects, they were arrested for concealing the death of a 4-year-old boy and attempted arson.
More charges could be filed pending on autopsy results.
A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families are conducting their own investigation of “allegations of abuse and neglect” after learning the child was found dead in an abandoned home.
The spokesperson also stated that DCF has had “prior contact with the child’s family between 2012 and 2016.”
Abdullah Muhailin, who lives across the street from the abandoned house where the child’s body was found, said he knew it was more than a house fire when the coroner arrived.
He said, “I saw the white van pull up and go in and come out. I guess the body was so small. I would say I didn’t see the white sheet.”
Other neighbors say they weren’t at all surprised that the fire crew discovered the child’s body in the abandoned home, stating that “houses like this have become havens for criminals and he wants the city to take action.”
“These abandoned houses, nobody is working on them. Nobody doing anything to them. Come and tear them down. Do something,” Bobby Bishop, who lives on the block, said.
Bishop went on to say that he has reached out to an alderman on several occasions, attempting to get the abandoned home boarded up, but was unsuccessful.
Garcia is being held at the county jail on a $2 million bond, while Camarena is being held on a $1 million bond.
[Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images]