Authorities: girl found dead in Riverdale missing from Chicago - FOX 32 News Chicago

19-month-old girl missing from Chicago found dead in Riverdale

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The body of a young girl found slain Sunday afternoon in a wooded area in south suburban Riverdale is that of a child reported missing in Chicago, the girl's grandmother said Monday.

Police were questioning the mother and her boyfriend, the child's grandmother, Bernadette Madison, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Relatives of 19-month-old Ameriah Roberson, who lived at 34 Warren Street in Calumet City, said they had identified the body. She was found in a wooded area and pronounced dead at the scene about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Madison, 46, said her daughter, Joclyn Roberson, 23, called her Sunday evening moments after she learned Ameriah was missing.

Ameriah had been reported missing about 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Roberson's boyfriend was babysitting Ameriah Sunday at a residence on the 3500 block of South Rhodes in the Oakland neighborhood on the South Side. Roberson has known her boyfriend since grade school but he is not the girl's biological father, Madison said.

When Roberson arrived to pick Ameriah up after finishing a shift at a South Side auto parts store, the child was not there. Her boyfriend said he had looked away for a few moments and then noticed she was nowhere in sight.

Madison said that the man told her daughter: "She was just right here, but now she's gone."

The girl's body, unidentified at the time, was found about 3:25 p.m. Sunday. Riverdale police received a call from a person who reported finding the body while walking near the 14000 block of South Normal Avenue.

Chicago detectives are working with Riverdale police, Illinois State Police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force as the investigation continues, said police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic.

Ameriah died of a subdural hematoma and closed head injuries from an assault, according to the medical examiner's office. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Police had said previously that the child had been with an adult who walked away for a brief moment, then returned to find the child missing, according to preliminary information.

Monday afternoon, Madison received a phone call from a family member who — after visiting the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office — had confirmed the unidentified body was in fact Ameriah.

"It was like somebody stuck a knife through my heart," Madison said.

Joclyn and her boyfriend were still being questioned by police Monday afternoon, said Madison, who herself had been questioned by detectives.

"Whoever did this I want to see prosecuted to the full extent of the law," she said.

Madison said her daughter is a "good mother" and that she saw no "signals or red flags" that her daughter's boyfriend would ever have harmed the child. But she was left grasping for answers as to how the child be found dead miles away.

"It's been a hard day," she said.

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