Police Chief 'Not Optimistic' Abducted Boy Is Alive

Officials said 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter was taken Tuesday afternoon

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Maywood authorities searched the Des Plaines River for Bryeon Hunter. His mother told police the boy was snatched Tuesday from the area of Main Street and South Fifth Avenue at about 2:15 p.m. Charlie Wojciechowski reports. (Published Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013)

    The search for a 1-year-old boy taken in an apparently violent abduction ended Wednesday afternoon with no sign of the toddler, an official said.

    Maywood authorities earlier in the day launched a search of the Des Plaines River for Bryeon Hunter. His mother told police the boy was snatched Tuesday from the area of Main Street and South Fifth Avenue at about 2:15 p.m.

    Wednesday's search, done in poor weather conditions that included rain and lightning, turned up nothing, a sergeant said. That's a good sign, according to a relative who identified himself only as Herbert.

    The boy, he said, "must be in somebody's house."

    Maywood's police chief, Tim Curry, was less confident the case would have a happy ending. Asked earlier in the day if he believes Hunter is alive, Curry said he was "not optimistic."

    An Illinois Amber Alert remained in effect, but it was immediately unclear if the river search would resume.

    Hunter's mother said the idea of her missing son was weighing on her.

    "It's affecting me real bad," 23-year-old Lakeshia Baker told reporters. "It gets to the point that my baby might be dead somewhere. I'm trying not to believe it, but it's getting to that point."

    Baker told reporters Tuesday she and her son were attacked and beaten by three Hispanic men.

    "They pulled up out of the alleyway and told me, 'Didn't we say we didn't want to see you here no more?' They pulled down my hair and pulled me in the car and started beating me and all I heard was my baby just screaming," Baker said. "They beat him too."

    Baker, speaking with a swollen eye, said she and her son were taken to a wooded area a few blocks away where she was beaten again. She was then put back in the car that she described as a black two-door sports car with tinted windows, returned to the area where she and her son were abducted, and "kicked" out of the car.

    Hunter was last seen wearing a blue, striped long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and blue Nike shoes. He is 2 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds, officials said.

    Officials on Wednesday said three Hispanic men suspected in the case had been cleared. Baker and her boyfriend were being questioned by police.

    Anyone with information should contact the Maywood Police Department at 708-450-4471.

    Maywood authorities on Wednesday searched the Des Plaines River for Bryeon Hunter. | Photo: Charlie Wojciechowski