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Man Indicted For Strangling Toddler, Tossing Body In Lake

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

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

CHICAGO (STMW) — A South Side man accused of strangling his 14-month-old son and then dumping the body in Lake Michigan was formally charged with murder on Thursday.

Donald Johnson, 30, of the 2200 block of South Princeton, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder for the death of his son, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

The body of Dontrell Johnson was found floating in the lake on Oct. 7. The toddler was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital after being pulled from the water, the Cook County Medical examiner’s office said.

A boater found the child floating in Lake Michigan off East 68th Street, officials said. An autopsy revealed the baby died of strangulation and his death was ruled a homicide, the medical examiner’s office said.

Johnson, a convicted felon, was charged after Dontrell was positively identified and the autopsy revealed he was murdered, police said. He was ordered held without bond on Oct. 9.

Dontrell had been missing since Oct. 4, when his father picked him up from a relative’s home in the 9400 bock of South Harvard, police said.

On Oct. 6, Johnson began telling the boy’s mother and other family members that he might harm the child and himself, police said.

Calumet Area detectives found Johnson on the evening of Oct. 6. After giving police a fictitious name and date of birth during an interview, he was arrested but refused to cooperate, police said.

Police issued an “endangered juvenile” alert saying the father had refused to return Dontrell and threatened the child. The alert said Donald Johnson had been taken into custody but refused to divulge the child’s location.

Johnson recently had sought to reunite with the boy’s mother, a family spokeswoman said, but she refused.

He is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 19, Simonton said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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