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Aunt accused of pushing 3-year-old nephew into Lake Michigan

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Aunt accused of pushing 3-year-old nephew into Lake Michigan
Aunt accused of pushing 3-year-old nephew into Lake Michigan

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CHICAGO – The woman charged with pushing her 3-year-old nephew into Lake Michigan near Navy Pier had taken the child from his home unbeknownst to the rest of their family, alleged prosecutors.

The woman, Victoria Moreno, 34, of Des Plaines, is facing charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery of a child.

Police said Moreno pushed the boy, Josiah Brown, into the water Monday afternoon and made no attempt to rescue him. Prosecutors called her actions premeditated.

Moreno did not attempt to rescue the boy, police said.

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Woman took nephew, 3, from home without permission to Lake Michigan before pushing him into water

She appeared in bond court Wednesday afternoon, where a judge denied her bond.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 30.

According to prosecutors, the 3-year-old was also with Moreno during a previous incident a week earlier, in which she allegedly stole the family’s car and took her two nieces and nephew to Navy Pier, but the older niece called relatives to get them .

Josiah is on a ventilator at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

He has a swollen brain, bleeding in his lungs and went into cardiac arrest multiple times.

A Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney told a judge during a hearing on Wednesday the boy court is unlikely to survive, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Josiah was at the family’s Des Plaines home on Monday afternoon where he lives with his grandmother and another aunt.

Moreno allegedly stole keys to the family’s truck and took Josiah without telling the other family members.

Another family member became alarmed when she noticed Moreno and the child were gone.

making no attempt to rescue him

Moreno was not allowed to drive because of medication she’s on for mental health issues.

The family was especially worried because last week, Moreno had taken three children living at the family home to Navy Pier also without permission.

The oldest child, an 11-year-old, called other family members for help and told them their location.

During the series of events Monday, prosecutors said Moreno drove into Chicago and attempted to enter the Shedd Aquarium with Josiah, but could not because she only had cash.

Shortly after noon, she parked at Navy Pier and entered a McDonald’s to order food, getting a Happy Meal for Josiah.

Moreno eventually took the boy to the pier, where chains are located on posts to keep people away from the water.

The boy crawled under the chains and got to the edge of the platform.

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When no one was present, Moreno let the boy crawl towards the edge of the pier. She climbed over the chains, straddled him, and then pushed him into the lake, alleged prosecutors.

Moreno has additionally been ordered to have no contact with her family.

His family was around the child’s bedside on Tuesday at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

They are asking for privacy, and his grandfather, Dan Brown, said they need “a lot of prayer right now.”

“Everybody’s prayer helps,” Brown said. “God makes things happen. That’s what we are banking on right now.”

Police said the child went tumbling several feet into the lake, nearly drowning about 1 p.m. Monday near the north end of Navy Pier.

He was walking with his aunt on the path next to the lake, before going into the water.

Divers with the Chicago Fire Department pulled the child to dry land before rushing him to the hospital in full cardiac arrest.

Moreno sat and stared into the water as the child was drowning, alleged prosecutors.

All the events were caught on surveillance cameras.

Two people heard the child hit the water and saw Moreno crouching by the platform.

They asked what happened to the boy and she said nothing, but later claimed she did not know the boy.

The two witnesses called police and got a life ring. But several minutes after the boy was pushed, he sunk under the water.

One witness, Ashton King, was at the pier and saw the boy in the water.

“The red flags were there,” King said. “She was acting very weird.

I did end up telling the officer, I said, ‘Listen … she was the only one here when we got here.

She’s just been acting off, weird. I just don’t know if she’s off. Something is not right.”‘”

Moreno did not ask for help and pretended to not know the child when questioned by police, prosecutors said.

The boy was retrieved by Chicago Fire Department personnel at the bottom of the lake about 30 minutes after he fell in.

He is still hospitalized with multiple critical injuries. He is on a ventilator and requires cardiac support.

Prosecutors said it’s unlikely he survives.

There is a chance Moreno faces additional charges if the boy dies, prosecutors added.

While hospitalized, Josiah’s dad publicly shared his battle with a heart condition through a video blog – where it was evident that love for his son was keeping him going.

Moreno was held without bail.

She has no prior arrest record.

The judge ordered Moreno to have no contact with the family.

The family chose not to speak or share a statement with CBS 2.


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