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Child's head found following discovery of body parts

Police searching for clues at the park in Chicago
Police searching for clues at the park in Chicago

The coroner's office in Chicago says authorities have found the head of a dismembered toddler in the city park lagoon where other body parts were found earlier.

A brief statement Monday from the Cook County Medical Examiner's office says the head appears to be from an African-American child of between 2 and 3 years old. The statement doesn't mention the victim's gender.

Investigators began searching the lagoon Saturday after someone reported seeing what turned out to be a left foot floating in the lagoon. Officers later found a decomposed right foot and hand about 25 yards away.

Searches continued Sunday and Monday.

The medical examiner's says the manner of death still hasn't been determined. It says the head and the other parts were decomposed.

Police said Sunday night that officers had recovered additional body parts from the park and categorized the case as a death investigation. The department declined to release any further details about the later discoveries.

Residents gathered on the perimeter of the park Sunday, speculating about how a child's remains may have ended up there. Perry Starks, 58, who lives a few blocks away, said there had been no alerts recently about any missing child.

"Usually someone would be asking, 'Where's my child?'" he said. "We haven't heard anything like that."

Residents described the park as a sanctuary for the lower-income community, with the lagoon that attracts urban fishermen and boaters, a swimming pool, baseball and football fields, as well as a vast, glass conservatory with palm trees and other exotic plants.