Suburban Park District Commissioner Accused of Kidnapping 9-Year-Old Girl: Sheriff

A suburban park district commissioner has been accused of kidnapping of a 9-year-old girl.

Charles Howard, a Ford Heights Park District commissioner, was charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

Authorities say the 9-year-old girl was playing with three other children before 10 p.m. Saturday in the 1500 block of Deer Creek in Ford Heights, where Howard lives.

Howard had invited the children to the front of his home to show them a pair of goggles that, when hooked to a smartphone, allows for 3-D vision, according to police. The other children left soon after, but the 9-year-old stayed behind.

Police said when the group didn’t see the girl for some time, they and others in the neighborhood began looking for her. They asked Howard if he had seen her but he said he did not know where she was, authorities claim.

The girl was found in Howard’s backyard, asleep in a lawn chair with other items covering her, according to authorities. She was taken to an area hospital for medical evaluation but did not appear to be injured.

When the group asked Howard what had happened, he chased them down the street with a handgun, police allege.

Howard’s bond was set at $500,000 Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Contact Us