Questions Linger In Deaths of Two Babies In South Suburbs

Children were found in Markham and Dolton two years ago

Troubling questions are being raised about the deaths of two children, whose bodies were found under mysterious circumstances in the south suburbs two years ago.

The first child, newborn Ariyah Hoover, was found June 7, 2017, in a plastic bag in a shed adjoining a home in suburban Dolton. The medical examiner listed the cause of her death as undetermined.

The second child, one-year old Ana Marie Townsend was found July 3rd following a fire in an empty house in nearby Markham. An autopsy report obtained by NBC5 Investigates shows doctors found evidence of previous abuse, including rib and extremity fractures, and her death was listed as a homicide.

The doctor who signed that autopsy report, Eric Eason, said it was unclear whether the child died in the fire, or was already dead and the fire set to cover up the crime.

Whatever the circumstances, activist Andrew Holmes, a recently-elected Dolton trustee, asks why no charges have been brought by either community nearly two years after the children were discovered.

"I believe they know what happened to these children," he said. "It's an open and shut case."

Neither Dolton nor Markham police would respond to NBC5's requests for information on the two cases. A spokesman for the Cook County State's Attorney said while they were aware of the incidents, nothing had been referred to their office for prosecution.

"Get these people into court," Holmes said, standing outside the State's Attorney's office at 69 West Washington. "Get these charges approved and find out what happened to these babies!"

Holmes argued that even if the Hoover child's death was not a homicide, concealing a death in Illinois is still a crime.

"It was undetermined because it was badly decomposed," he said. "But you abused by putting the corpse out in the shed."

A Cook County spokesman said Ariyah Hoover was given an indigent burial after her family signed release forms, and that burial arrangements for Ana Marie Townsend were made by her family.

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