CHICAGO (SCS) — An autopsy on Wednesday confirmed Josiah Brown, thedied of complications from drowning.
Josiah died at Lurie Children’s Hospital on Sunday, 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 from drowning and his death was ruled a homicide.
Josiah’s aunt, Victoria Moreno, 34, of Des Plaines, has been charged with attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault of a child. Cook County prosecutors said they expect Moreno to 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 September 19, then doing nothing as he sank to the bottom of the lake off Chicago’s Navy Pier, where divers found him a half – hour later.
Prosecutors said that by early afternoon, Josiah was at the family home in Des Plaines, where he lives with his grandmother and another aunt. Moreno allegedly stole the keys to the family’s truck and took Josiah away without telling the other family members.
Another family member became alarmed when she noticed Moreno and the child were gone. Moreno was not cleared to drive because of medication she takes for mental health issues.
The family was particularly concerned because, the previous week, Moreno had taken three children living in the family home at Navy Pier also without permission. The eldest, 11, called other family members for help and told them where they were.
During the September 19 chain of events, Moreno traveled to Chicago and attempted to enter the Shedd Aquarium with Josiah, but could not because she only had money, according to prosecutors.
Shortly after noon, she parked at Navy Pier and walked into 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 poles to keep people away from the water.
The boy crawled under the chains and came to the edge of the platform. When no one was present, Moreno let the boy crawl to the edge of the pier. She climbed the chains, straddled him, then pushed him into the lake, prosecutors say.
Moreno sat and watched in the water as the child drowned, prosecutors said. All the events were filmed by surveillance cameras.
Two people heard the child touch the water and saw Moreno crouching near the platform. They asked what happened to the boy and she didn’t say anything, but later claimed she didn’t know the boy.
The two witnesses called the police and got a lifeline. But a few minutes after being pushed, the boy sank underwater.
“The red flags were there,” King said. “She was acting very weird. I ended up telling the officer, I said, ‘Look…she was the only one here when we got here. She just acted weird. I don’t know if she’s something wrong.'”
Moreno did not ask for help and claimed not to 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. The boy went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital in “a very critical condition”, officials said. He died Sunday morning, six days after the Navy Pier incident.
The family set up a GoFundMe, originally for the boy’s medical bills, which has raised over $19,000 so far.