MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) – An autopsy on Wednesday should help determine if the body of a small boy found along the Des Plaines River belongs to 20-month-old Bryeon Hunter, the Maywood boy allegedly killed by his mother and her boyfriend.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports 22-year-old Lakesha Baker and 21-year-old Michael Scott appeared in court Wednesday morning at the Maywood Courthouse, dressed in yellow jail jumpsuits.
Both have been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly beating Bryeon to death because they were upset he could not be potty trained, and then dumping his body in the river.
Prosecutors have said Baker regularly beat Bryeon with a belt, and made him sit on the toilet. They said Baker and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, beat Bryeon with a belt and plastic hangars on April 15, while Scott covered the toddler’s mouth so Lloyd would not hear him screaming.
Baker and Scott allegedly left Bryeon to die, and afterward made up a story that he’d been kidnapped by three Hispanic men. Baker even picked out three pictures in a police mug book as the purported kidnappers, but police quickly discovered the story was a lie.
After the two were charged, Baker also had two black eyes which she claimed were from the abduction, but which prosecutors alleged were the result of a beating by Scott.
Wednesday’s hearing lasted only a couple minutes, because their attorneys couldn’t make it to court, and the case was continued until next week.
Meantime, the man who found the body shared a special moment with Bryeon’s grandmother.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports Robert Larson and dozens of other volunteers have been searching along the banks of the Des Plaines River almost every day since Bryeon went missing. On Tuesday, Larson found a boy’s body along the river near 31st Street and 1st Avenue in Riverside while searching in his kayak.
Larson said finding the body was overwhelming, after searching for nearly a month.
The Westchester man, who trains cadaver dogs, brought one of his dogs with him when he met Bryeon’s grandmother, Brenda Lloyd, on Wednesday.
“Without him … my grandson wouldn’t have been found,” she said.
“I wanted to find her grandson, and I found him. So I’m glad I could bring that closure to you and your family,” Larson said.
Larson said he’s glad the search is over.
“I am not hero, these people are the ones that are the heroes. Bryeon is the hero. To have that boy go through and endure what he went through is sickening,” he said.
The body has yet to officially identified, pending an autopsy scheduled for Wednesday. Lloyd will try to identify the body at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Lloyd defended her daughter, Lakesha Baker, who has been accused of killing Bryeon. Lloyd said she’s going to stand by her daughter, and she blamed Scott for Bryeon’s death, saying he beat Baker and told her to lie to police.
“The boyfriend did it, and I know he did it. His family know he did it. My daughter didn’t do that. She wouldn’t kill her baby,” she said.
She attended Wednesday’s court hearing to show support for her daughter.
“That’s my child, and I’m going to believe my child, and I’m going to stand by my child,” she said.
Scott’s family was also at the hearing, but they declined to comment.