The 3-year-old boy who spent nearly 30 minutes at the bottom of Lake Michigan after his aunt allegedly tossed him off of Navy Pier and watched him drown has died, according to records from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Records show Josiah Brown died at 10:16 a.m. Sunday morning. Prosecutors this week said he was not expected to survive after he suffered a swollen brain, multiple cardiac arrest events, and a series of seizures. Authorities said he remained on a ventilator and cardiac support for several days.
Victoria Moreno, 34, took the boy from the family home without permission and bought him a McDonald’s Happy Meal before walking down the north side of Navy Pier around 1:30 p.m. Monday, prosecutor Lorraine Scaduto said.
The boy was nearly struck by a car near the pier’s parking garage entrance before Moreno grabbed him and led him to the edge of the pier, where a chain runs along the edge of a walkway, Scaduto said.
At one point, the boy crawled under the chain, but Moreno pulled him back by his foot when other people approached. Scaduto alleged that after they were gone, she allowed the boy to crawl back under the chain, then crouched behind him and tossed him into the water with both hands.
Navy Pier’s security cameras recorded the entire incident.
He fell about 6½ feet and remained on the surface for a short time before vomiting twice and then sinking to the bottom, said Scaduto, a veteran prosecutor who appeared to become emotional as she detailed the horrific allegations.
She said Moreno sat down and stared at the boy as he drowned. While other passersby tossed a ring buoy toward the child, Moreno told them she didn’t know the boy or what happened to him, Scaduto said.
“Not once,” Scaduto alleged, “did the defendant scream for help, call for help, ask for help, or try herself to help.”
Last week, Moreno took young relatives without the family’s permission to the same location, including an 11-year-old who became so concerned about what was happening that she sent family members a pin marker so they could locate the children, according to Scaduto.
Assistant Public Defender Patrick Shine said Moreno is on medication for mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.
She is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child under the age of 13. Scaduto said during this week’s bail hearing that upgraded charges would likely be filed if the boy did not survive.
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