Garfield Park Lagoon Investigation Enters 4th Day After Toddler's Body Parts Discovered

The cause and manner of death are pending the results of additional tests and an ongoing police investigation

[Editor's Note: NBC 5 will be hosting a live stream of the Chicago Police Department's press conference on the ongoing investigation at 12:30 p.m. CT Wednesday]

Chicago police will continue to drain a Garfield Park lagoon Wednesday as they work to identify a toddler whose remains were found there.

Officials are scheduled to update the public on their findings from the investigation at 12:30 p.m.

On Tuesday night a group called Chicago Citizens for Change Gathered for a small vigil for the unidentified toddler, placing flowers and balloons at the entrance to the park.

The Cook County medical examiner's office and Chicago Police Department said an initial examination of the body determined the victim was most likely an African-American child between the ages of 2 and 3 years old. 

"All the body parts appear to be from a child of approximately the same age," according to a statement from both the medical examiner and Chicago police. 

Officials said the child had short, curly black hair, brown eyes and the earlobes were not pierced. The lack of ear piercing suggests the child was likely a male, authorities said, but they have not yet determined if the child was a boy or a girl. 

DNA samples were submitted and a "dental consultation" has taken place. Fingerprints and footprints were taken by the Chicago Police Department and an anthropological consultation is pending, officials said.

The statement said the body parts were all "badly decomposed."

The cause and manner of death are pending the results of additional tests and an ongoing police investigation. It was not immediately clear when those results would be released.

Officers were first called to the lagoon around 4:40 p.m. Saturday when someone called 911 to report they saw something strange floating in the water, Chicago Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said. The object in the water turned out to be a toddler's left foot, according to police.

Upon further investigation, officers found the right foot and a hand about 25 yards away. Later Sunday, they recovered the child's head.

A 20-pound weight was also found near the body parts, Guglielmi said. Police are still investigating whether the weight is connected to the discovery of the remains or if it was simply dumped in the same area.

"Cases involving children are exceptionally difficult for all affected — even police," Guglielmi said. "We will comb every square inch of the lagoon for whatever may or may not be in there." 

Police have also begun looking through missing children reports in the city and state and have contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Guglielmi said.

Garfield Park is closed until further notice as police investigate. Anyone with information on missing children fitting the description are asked to call (312) 744-8261.

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