Twenty-four hours after Bryeon Hunter was reported missing from Maywood, police officials from across the west suburbs came together to search the Des Plaines River.
Police vehicles and trucks lined both sides of the street on the bridge that separates Maywood from River Forest, its closest neighbor.
For most of the day, under dark clouds and intermittent rain, rescue operators searched the murky brown water looking for the body of a 1-year old.
The river at this location is strangled at points by tree branches felled by winter. But on Wednesday, the water moved swiftly under the bridge, as a handful of people stood watching from behind yellow police tape.
On Tuesday, Bryeon’s distraught mother told police officers that she had been abducted and brutally beaten by three Hispanic men while walking near Main and 6th Street with the boy. The mother, who had a black eye and other visible bruises, claimed the men had forcibly snatched her and her son off the street and drove them to the wooded Forest Preserve area not far from the bridge. There, the men beat her again, then drove her back to the spot where they picked her up, kicked her out of the car, described as a black sports car with tinted windows, and drove off with her son.
Maywood officials immediately issued an Amber alert.
While strangers kept watch inside the McDonald’s restaurant at Lake and 1st Avenue watching rescuers go in and come out of the water empty-handed, police were apparently questioning the mother, 23-year-old Lakeshia Baker, about her son’s disappearance.
“The information that there were three male Hispanics involved wasn’t true,” said Maywood’s Police Chief Tim Curry in a telephone interview.