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Josiah Brown, boy pushed into Lake Michigan at Navy Pier, died of drowning, autopsy confirms

Death of 3-year-old boy pushed into Lake Michigan ruled a homicide
Death of 3-year-old boy pushed into Lake Michigan ruled a homicide 00:31

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An autopsy on Wednesday confirmed Josiah Brown, the 3-year-old boy who died after his aunt allegedly pushed him into Lake Michigan at Navy Pier, died as a result of drowning.

Josiah died Sunday at Lurie Children's Hospital, six days after Fire Department divers pulled him out of the lake in critical condition. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office announced Wednesday afternoon that an autopsy determined he died as a result of complications from drowning, and his death was ruled a homicide.

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

Josiah's aunt, 34-year-old Victoria Moreno of Des Plaines, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child. Cook County prosecutors have said they expect Moreno will face additional charges after the medical examiner's office and Chicago Police complete their investigations.

Moreno is being held without bail.

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 on Sept. 19, Moreno drove into Chicago and attempted to enter the Shedd Aquarium with Josiah, but could not because she only had cash, according to prosecutors.

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.

Chicago Fire Department divers found Josiah 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. He died Sunday morning, six days after the incident at Navy Pier.

The family created a GoFundMe, originally for the boy's medical expenses, which  has raised more than $19,000 so far.

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