Suspect in teen’s brutal assault held on $2.5M bond

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A man charged with trying to rape and kill a girl on her way to school is in jail on two and a half million dollars bond.

At the criminal courts building, prosecutors laid out the case against Luis Pantoja  that according to detectives, includes DNA recovered from a condom wrapper at the crime scene and a telltale boot print.  Prosecutors say the boot print, along with other evidence  discovered in the snowy backyard at 2417 N. Long on the Northwest side, points to Pantoja.  .

“Shoe prints left on the scene are of the same size, design and tread pattern as the defendant’s boots he was wearing at the time of his arrest,” said Jennifer Gonzalez, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney.

When investigators took him into custody last week, Pantoja was still wearing the same boots he wore during the attack, according to police.  And a subsequent search of the 25-year-old’s apartment uncovered  blood-soaked clothing – matching descriptions given by witnesses – one of whom allegedly spotted Pantoja fleeing the scene in a snow-covered hoodie and dark clothing, moments after the December 17th early morning attack in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

Police accuse Pantoja of striking his young victim over the head with a blunt object – the force of the impact fracturing the victim’s skull in several places – leaving a trail of blood from the gangway to where Pantoja allegedly raped the 15-year-old.

One hopeful sign in today’s proceeding has to do with the victim’s health.  Prosecutors say the victim, a Chicago Public School honor student, has been moved from Mt. Sinai hospital to a rehab facility – a possible indication that her condition has improved.

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