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3-year-old dies after aunt allegedly pushed him off Navy Pier into Lake Michigan

3-year-old dies after aunt allegedly pushed him off Navy Pier into Lake Michigan
3-year-old dies after aunt allegedly pushed him off Navy Pier into Lake Michigan 00:27

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 3-year-old boy has died after he was allegedly pushed off Navy Pier by his aunt, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. 

The boy, who prosecutors identified as Josiah Brown, suffered cardiac arrest and severe brain damage after being under the water for 30 minutes. 

Prosecutors say his aunt, 34-year-old Victoria Moreno of Des Plaines, Illinois, was seen on surveillance video pushing him into the lake. She was charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child under the age of 13 causing permanent disability, police said Wednesday. Those charges will almost certainly be upgraded. 

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Susanna Ortiz denied bail for Moreno during a Wednesday bond hearing, despite defense arguments that she suffers from mental issues.  

The 3-year-old boy who was pushed into Lake Michigan on Monday was still hospitalized as of Wednesday with several serious injuries. Cook County prosecutors said in court he is not expected to survive. Facebook

Moreno is accused of pushing Josiah into Lake Michigan at Navy Pier on Sept. 19, and then standing by and doing nothing as he sank to the lake bottom off Chicago's Navy Pier, where divers found him a half-hour later.

Prosecutors said, earlier that afternoon, Josiah was at the family's Des Plaines home where he lives with his grandmother and another aunt. Moreno allegedly stole keys to the family's truck and took Josiah without telling the other family members.

Another family member became alarmed when she noticed Moreno and the child were gone. Moreno was not allowed to drive because of medication she's on for mental health issues.

The family was especially worried because, the week before, Moreno had taken three children living at the family home to Navy Pier also without permission. The oldest child, an 11-year-old, called other family members for help and told them their location. 

During the chain of events Monday, prosecutors said Moreno drove into Chicago and attempted to enter the Shedd Aquarium with Josiah, but could not because she only had cash.

Shortly after noon, she parked at Navy Pier and entered a McDonald's to order food, getting a Happy Meal for Josiah. 

Moreno eventually took the boy to the pier, where chains are located on posts to keep people away from the water.

The boy crawled under the chains and got to the edge of the platform. When no one was present, Moreno let the boy crawl towards the edge of the pier. She climbed over the chains, straddled him, and then pushed him into the lake, prosecutors alleged.

Moreno sat and stared into the water as the child was drowning, prosecutors alleged. All the events were caught on surveillance cameras.

Two people heard the child hit the water and saw Moreno crouching by the platform. They asked what happened to the boy and she said nothing, but later claimed she did not know the boy.

The two witnesses called police and got a life ring. But several minutes after the boy was pushed, he sunk under the water.

One witness, Ashton King, was at the pier and saw the boy in the water.

"The red flags were there," King said. "She was acting very weird. I did end up telling the officer, I said, 'Listen ... she was the only one here when we got here. She's just been acting off, weird. I just don't know if she's off. Something is not right.'"

Moreno did not ask for help and pretended to not know the child when questioned by police, prosecutors said.

The boy was retrieved by Chicago Fire Department personnel at the bottom of the lake about 30 minutes after he fell in. The boy went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Lurie Children's Hospital in "very critical condition," officials said. 

The family created a GoFundMe originally for the boy's medical expenses. It has raised more than $15,000 so far.

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