A 3-year-old boy was pronounced dead Sunday after allegedly being pushed off a Chicago pier into Lake Michigan by his aunt last week.
The aunt, Victoria Moreno, was charged on Wednesday with one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery to a child.
During the bond hearing, Moreno argued that she suffered from a history of mental health issues. Despite her defense, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Susanna Ortiz denied her bail.
Authorities alleged that security camera footage showed the 34-year-old woman pushing her nephew off Chicago’s Navy Pier in the afternoon on September 19.
After pushing the toddler into the lake, his aunt stood by and did nothing to save him, witnesses stated.
Ashton King, a witness, saw the boy floating in the water and immediately called authorities.
“We looked at what she was looking at, and we saw a little boy floating on his back,” King said, referring to Moreno.
King told WBBM-TV that the aunt did nothing to save the child. She called Moreno’s lack of action and calm demeanor “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
Prosecutors identified the child as Josiah Brown and reported that, after nearly 30 minutes in the water, the toddler suffered cardiac arrest and severe brain damage.
After Fire Department divers recovered the boy, he was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital in “very critical condition,” officials stated.
WFLD reported that the child’s mother left the boy in the care of his grandmother on the day of the incident. Moreno, who lived at the grandmother’s home, allegedly took the child and brought him to the pier by stealing a vehicle from her family.
Prosecutors said Moreno “stole the keys” and “snuck out of the residence without anyone knowing that she had left.”
Moreno was not allowed to drive because of medications she was taking for mental illness, according to WFLD. Allegedly, this was not the first time Moreno had taken young family members without permission.
According to a police report, the aunt initially denied knowing the boy. Later, she allegedly said she was holding onto the child’s shirt but let go because he started “acting up.”
The medical examiner’s office reported that Josiah Brown succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, almost one week after the incident. Given the recent announcement of the child’s passing, additional charges against the aunt are expected.