NORTHFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The search continued Tuesday for a man accused of putting a cellphone camera in the bathroom at a north suburban elementary school.
The man actually worked at the school. We have been following the story for days.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, police know who the suspect is – but as of Tuesday still could not seem to find him.
As of Tuesday, it had been a whole week since staff at the Sunset Ridge School in Northfield found a camera in the staff bathroom. Police tried to find David Garcia-Espinal, 40, that day once they checked out the phone – but he had already disappeared.
A cellphone camera was found “hidden and recording from a trash can” in a staff-designated bathroom around 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, according to a letter to parents.
The cellphone was taped to the inside of the classroom and appeared to be recording video through a small hole, Sunset Ridge School District 29 Supt. Edward Stange wrote.
Police released a mugshot from one of Garcia-Espinal’s prior arrests.
Court records showed he pleaded guilty to identity fraud in Glenview in 2012 and was sentenced to probation, and was also fined for violating his probation in 2013.
But Garcia-Espinal still passed background checks, according to the district.
Garcia-Espinal had been at Sunset Ridge since 2015, holding two jobs at the school since 2016 through two different companies.
He was a cook through OrganicLife, and a custodian through Smith Maintenance Company in the evenings, the school district said in the Q&A communication to parents.
Both provided the district “copies of separate, independent criminal background checks,” the district said. Neither showed evidence of any criminal convictions.
Garcia-Espinal is not listed in the Illinois state Sex Offender Database, nor is he found on the Violent Offender Against Youth Database.
CBS 2 reached out to both companies he works for.
OrganicLife told us they are still gathering information, but Garcia-Espinal has been fired. We have not heard back from Smith Maintenance Company.
We also brought questions and concerns to Northfield Police – some of which are addressed in statements from the school – about Garcia-Espinal’s background.
On Tuesday, police said they could not release any other information.
Meanwhile, parents Tuesday night were coming forward because their children used the staff bathroom where the camera was found. Those parents were being directed to police.
The district said it has no information about the content in the videos and said police haven’t relayed the names of anyone who was recorded.
Sunset Ridge School has counselors in the building available for students and staff, and say they will continue to update their website with new information.