CHICAGO — Cook County prosecutors have outlined a troubling case against the mother of a 4-year-old boy whose body was found wrapped in a burning blanket in an Englewood home this week.
Prosecutors painted an unsettling picture of abuse, starvation and neglect that the boy allegedly suffered at the hands of his own mother.
27-year-old Alyssa Garcia is a mother of six children, ages 10, 8, 6, and just within the last week, she gave birth to premature twins. But it was her 4-year-old son Manuel Aguilar who was singled out for mistreatment, perhaps because he was sick.
Prosecutors say she kept the boy naked and locked in a back storage room that reeked of feces and urine.
“They boy was often made to remain completely naked because he would urinate on himself. They described the child as being so skinny that his ribs were showing,” said Jamie Santini, assistant state’s attorney.
Those who saw the boy when he was alive told WGN News you could see his the outline of his bones through his emaciated body. Prosecutors say although he was 4-years-old he was so small he looked like an infant.
“Based on the initial observations of the body of the 4-year-old, investigators initially believed they found the body of an infant that was approximately 9 months of age,” Santini said.
On July 29, prosecutors say the boy’s lifeless body was discovered by other children in the home. Fearing that her other children would be taken if she contacted the authorities, Garcia hatched a plan to get rid of the body.
So she and her 17-year-old boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s 19-year-old brother Christian Camerena bathed the 4-year-old, clothed him, wrapped him in a blanket then took him to the abandoned house.
Police responded to an arson call at the house and say they discovered Garcia with lighter fluid.
Garcia’s bond was set at $2 million on Thursday. Camarena’s bond was set at $1 million.
The medical examiner has not determined a the boy’s cause of death and is conducting radiology and toxicology exams.