A 3-year-old boy left in critical condition after being rescued from Lake Michigan off Navy Pier on Monday was pushed into the water by a relative, according to a police report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
The boy was pulled from the lake about 1 p.m. near the 700 block of East Grand Avenue, according to Chicago police. He went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital in “very critical condition,” fire officials said.
The relative initially told responding officers that she was only a witness to the incident, then claimed she was holding the boy’s shirt and allegedly let go because he “was acting up,” according to the police report and a source with knowledge of the investigation.
A witness told police that she heard a splash and saw the child in the water. She ran to get a flotation device while another witness called 911, the report states. The relative allegedly didn’t make an attempt to call 911 or rescue him, the report states.
Ashton King, 31, said she was walking on the pier with a friend who heard and saw the splash but didn’t see what happened before. As soon as she saw the boy in the water, King called 911, she said.
“He was ... floating on his back and just looking up at the sky, his head was the only thing that was bobbing above the water,” King told the Sun-Times.
She added: “By the time we had thrown [a life preserver] in, he had already gone under.”
Surveillance video shows the woman pushing him toward the edge of the pier and tossing him into the water, the source with knowledge of the investigation alleged. The boy wasn’t expected to survive, the source said.
“Your first instinct is to jump in, jump in and save them,” said King, a mother of three who lives in suburban Oak Forest.
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The woman was taken into custody, but no charges have been announced. She told officers that she brought the 3-year-old to Navy Pier to “go on the rides,” the police report states.
The boy’s mother had left her son with his grandmother that day, according to the report. When the grandmother went upstairs to change, the relative left with the child.
Area Three Deputy Chief Gabriella Shemash provided few details about the incident at a news conference Monday. “As with any incident involving children, these are difficult circumstances,” she said. “We ask that you keep the family in your thoughts.”
In a statement Monday night, Navy Pier officials said, “We are working very closely with the Chicago Police Department as they investigate the incident. Our hearts are with the child and his loved ones.”
The family of the child is now being investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, according to department spokesman Bill McCaffrey. DCFS had no prior contact with the family before Monday’s incident, McCaffrey said.
Contributing: David Struett, Emmanuel Camarillo, Mary Norkol