Story Summary

Mother, boyfriend charged with killing Maywood toddler

Maywood police issued an Amber Alert for Bryeon Hunter, 1, who was abducted Tuesday afternoon.

The boy’s mother, Lakeshia Baker and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Michael Scott, are charged with first-degree murder in the boy’s death.

Meanwhile, crews continue to search the Maywood area for Bryeon’s body.


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Nearly five months after he was beaten to death and dumped into the Des Plaines River, a funeral was held Friday for the little toddler who loved to smile and dance, Bryeon Hunter.

His mother, Lakeshia Baker, and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, are charged with beating Hunter with a belt and plastic hangers on April 15th. They’re accused of leaving him to die on the bathroom floor of their apartment in Maywood. Then, they allegedly dumped his body in the river.

A man who runs a K-9 training center spent several weeks searching the river, and found Hunter on May 14th near the Brookfield Zoo. It took roughly four months for DNA tests to confirm the body was indeed Hunter’s.

The man who discovered Hunter, Rob Larson, spoke to the mourners at the New Beginnings Church at 66th and Kind Drive.

“Very hard for me to speak about this. I got very attached to Bryeon. I took Bryeon in as my own son. I’m trying to look at this as a good day, for Bryeon to move on to a much better place,” said Larson.

WGN News Writer C. Hayes published this story.

A toddler who was murdered and dumped in a river will be laid to rest Friday.

Breyon Hunter disappeared April 15.

His body was found about a month later in the Des Plaines river.

He beaten to death with a hanger and a belt before he was put in a bag.

His funeral is at “New Beginnings Church,” at 6620 S King Drive.

Hunter’s mother, Lakeshia Baker, and her boyfriend are charged with his murder.

Police say Baker claimed her son was kidnapped, before she confessed to killing him.

Funeral arrangements have been made for a toddler from Maywood whose body was pulled from the banks of the Des Plaines River.

Police say Bryeon Hunter vanished April 15.

His mother Lakeshia Baker and her boyfriend Michael Scott reportedly confessed they beat Bryeon to death with a belt and a coat hanger, then stuffed his body into a back pack and dropped it into the river.

Bryeon’s funeral is Friday morning at new beginnings church, at 66th and King Drive.

By Joseph Ruzich, Special to the Tribune
A Maywood mother and her boyfriend pleaded not guilty this morning to charges that they beat and killed her 1-year-old son before disposing the child’s body in the Des Plaines River.

Clad in yellow jumpsuits, Lakeshia Baker, 22, and Michael Scott, 21, showed no emotion during a five-minute hearing before Cook County Judge Paula Daleo at the Cook County courthouse in Maywood.

But family members sitting in the back row in the courtroom became teary-eyed during the hearing.

Daleo accepted the pleas and scheduled the next hearing for June 18.

Baker and Scott are accused of beating Bryeon Hunter with a belt and plastic hangers on April 15 before leaving him to die on the bathroom floor of their Maywood apartment, Cook County prosecutors have said.

The couple initially made up a story that the child had been kidnapped, but police later determined that the kidnapping did not occur. The couple later allegedly confessed to disposing of the body in the river.

A Westchester man who spent weeks searching the river found what is likely to be the child on May 14. Robert Larson, 47, was paddling his kayak just north of 31st Street near the Brookfield Zoo in North Riverside when he noticed the body of a baby face up. Larson operates a K-9 training center in Westchester.

Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry said the decomposed body seemed to resemble the child. But Curry said today he is still waiting for the Cook County medical examiner’s office to identify the child.

Baker is being held without bail. Scott’s bail is $750,000.

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LL

The grandmother of a missing boy from Maywood will learn today if a body found in the Des Plaines River is her grandson.

One-year-old Bryeon Hunter was reported missing a month ago.

His mother told police he was kidnapped.

But Lakeshia Baker later said she and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, beat the boy to death and dumped his body in the Des Plaines River.

Both have been charged with murder.

A volunteer who spent weeks looking for the boy believes the body he found Tuesday is Hunter.

Hunter’s grandmother was told she could identify the body today.

The body of a young boy was recovered from the Des Plaines River this afternoon after being discovered by a man in a kayak.

For nearly a month, and nearly every day along the Des Plaines River, that man, Robert Larson, looked for the body of Bryeon Hunter.  A 1-year-old he never knew, except for the story of how he died.

“Why am I doing this? Because it’s the right thing to do. It seemed like nobody cared about him being in the river,” he said.

This afternoon around 4 p.m., the month-long search seemed to come to an end in the river near Brookfield Zoo.  Larson saw the small, naked body of a young boy caught up on debris in the water.

“ I knew what it was as soon as I approached,” said Larson.”

22-year-old Lakeshia Baker told investigators that she and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Michael Scott, beat her son with a belt and plastic hanger on April 15 before leaving him to die on the bathroom floor of their Maywood apartment then dumping his body several miles upstream from today’s discovery. Both are now charged with his murder.

Tonight, Bryeon’s grandmother came to  identify the body at the medical examiner’s office but was told to come back tomorrow after an autopsy.

For Robert Larson, it is the end of an emotional mission which was aided by his two search dogs and the will to bring a little boy home.

A mother and her boyfriend are charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of one-year-old Bryeon Hunter.

Lakeshia Baker and her boyfriend, Michael Scott are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Baker admitted to beating him repeatedly with a hanger and belt last Monday.

Then both admitted to leaving the boy’s body near the Des Plaines River in Maywood.

The boy’s body has not been found.

A judge denied bail for the Maywood mother accused of beating her baby to death on Saturday, but originally telling police she and her son were the victims of an abduction. Lakeshia Baker and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Michael Scott made their first appearance in court today. The details of the crime were so disturbing Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez attending today’s hearing.

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Michael Scott and Lakeshia Baker

“This case strikes us as particularly heinous for a number of reasons,” said Alvarez.

In court, both defendants stood side by side, each charged with first degree murder in the alleged beating death of Baker’s one year old son, Bryeon Hunter.

“We don’t know how long the baby had been beaten but based on what we were told the child had been beaten continuously,”  said Alvarez.

Though first concocting an abduction story for police, which lead to an Amber Alert being issued on Tuesday, prosecutors say Baker later admitted to beating her son repeatedly with a belt, and making him sit for hours on the toilet as punishment. Scott told investigators that his girlfriend is the one who beat her son to death, leaving him to die on the bathroom floor.  Prosecutors say both admitted to stuffing the boy’s body into a backpack to dispose of it near the Des Plaines River in Maywood, then calling police to report a false kidnapping and beating by three men. Baker went so far as to tell her story to reporters, while the Amber Alert was still active.

“I think it’s horrific, we’re talking about a 20 month old child and to be continuously beaten and left on the toilet- you can just imagine what the child has gone through. As a mother, it really hits you, that a mother could do this to their own child and then getting the police involved in an Amber Alert, knowing full well that the child was already dead,” said Alvarez.

Maywood police chief Tim Curry said the story quickly unraveled as the truth came out, “due to the description of the subjects that she decribed, they were not a part of this event and we had concern with that.”

Though neither family wanted to talk on camera, Lakeshia Baker’s attorney, Irv Frazin said his client was not guilty, “she has been under the thumb of this fellow, this co-defendant for a long time, and this is a classic case of abuse.   She has been abused regularly by this person, hospitalized and I think all of that will come out later,” said Frazin.

Meanwhile, crews continue to search the Maywood area for Bryeon’s body.

Both Baker and Scott are due back in court on Tuesday.

The mother of a 1-year-old boy and her boyfriend have both been charged with first degree murder, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Lakesha Baker, 22 and Michael Scott, 21, both of the 300 block of South 10th Avenue, have each been charged with murder in connection with the death of 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter.

Sally Daly, spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, said the couple is due in bond court tomorrow.

Check back for more information.

By Matthew Walberg Tribune reporter

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

The search for a missing one-year-old boy from Maywood will resume today.

An Amber Alert was issued Tuesday for Bryeon Hunter.

His mother told police they were on their way back from the park, when three men beat her up and took the boy.

The men she identified as the suspects were questioned and cleared by the police.

Now, officers are interviewing the child’s mother and her boyfriend.

Police say the boy is presumed dead.

They are now calling the search a recovery mission.