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Bail Denied To Man Accused Of Dumping Strangled Toddler’s Body

Donald Johnson (Left, Chicago Police Booking Photo), Dontrell Johnson (Family Photo)

Donald Johnson (Left, Chicago Police Booking Photo), Dontrell Johnson (Family Photo)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) - A 30-year-old Chicago man accused of strangling his 14-month-old son, then dumping the body in Lake Michigan, has a date in Violence Court Tuesday.

On Saturday, a Criminal Court judge denied bail to Donald Johnson.

Normally, Regina Quarles refused to leave son Dontrell Johnson alone with the child’s father, Donald Johnson, of the 2200 block of South Princeton Avenue. Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Cheronis told Judge Adam Bourgeois she was hesitant because of Johnson’s history of domestic violence.

But she did so Wednesday, leaving for work at 9:30 a.m. Cheronis said that by 2 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson allegedly threatened to kill himself and Dontrell because Quarles refused to answer her phone or respond to text messages.

He later said that he believed she had found another man. Cheronis said Quarles was merely trying to end an abusive relationship.

Cheronis said that by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson had told Quarles’ mother, “It was too late,” and shortly thereafter told his own aunt and uncle that Dontrell was “in a better place,” blaming Quarles and her family.

Yet, Cheronis said, Johnson allegedly told police after being picked up late Wednesday night that if they would free him, he would get Dontrell on the city’s West Side and return him.

Police issued an “endangered juvenile” alert when Johnson refused to disclose the West Side location. Prosecutors booked him on first-degree murder charges shortly after a boater spotted Dontrell’s body floating in Lake Michigan off 68th Street shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office determined in an autopsy that the child had been strangled.

Johnson is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Violence Court (Br. 66).