Prosecutors: Chicago mom wrapped dead son in blanket, had remains set on fire

- A mother of five children, including week-old twins, was ordered held on $2 million bond Thursday after prosecutors said she dressed her dead 4-year-old son up, put him in a blanket and had his remains set on fire in a vacant house because she didn’t want the state to take away her other children.

Alyssa Garcia, 27, is charged with felony counts of concealing a death and attempted residential arson. Also charged was Christian Camarena, 19, and a 17-year-old boy related to Camarena and is Garcia’s live-in boyfriend, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Her 4-year-old son, Manuel Aguilar, who authorities originally believed was a 9-month-old child given his size, was found dead this week in a vacant Englewood home after firefighters arrived to put out the fire.

Prosecutors said Garcia admitted in a video-recorded statement to police that her severely malnourished son had stopped breathing on Friday and she had tried to resuscitate him by putting him the shower. When she realized he was dead, she dressed him up, wrapped him up in a blue towel and drove him to the home with Camarena and the teen where it was set on fire.

A witness told police that Garcia had kept the 4-year-old in a back room of her home that constantly smelled of urine and feces. The little boy would hide feces because he feared his mother would beat him, authorities said. Garcia repeatedly abused the boy, who would scream from the room, “Let me out,” according to a witness, authorities said.

Four years ago, state child protective workers took custody of Garcia’s little boy because of neglect, officials said Thursday.

But the boy was returned in 2015 to Garica after she complied with terms that included attending parenting classes, a spokeswoman for the lllinois Department of Children and Family Services said Thursday.

Prosecutors also said in bond court Thursday that Garcia had been previously charged with endangerment of a child, after authorities found a 5-year-old boy was knocking on a door, looking for his mother. That discovery led authorities to a car with more of Garcia’s children. She was away, apparently visiting a boyfriend, authorities said. Garcia received 18 months supervision in that case.

The body of Garcia’s dead son was found by firefighters Tuesday night after they put out the fire in the the 1400 block of West Marquette Road. The manner and cause of the boy’s death were still under investigation following an autopsy.

An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services spokeswoman, Veronica Resa, said the child’s death has triggered an investigation for “allegations of abuse and neglect. Garcia’s week-old twins are currently in a hospital for “monitoring.”

The firefighters smelled lighter fluid in a gangway and found a small fire in the basement of the vacant two-story house, authorities said.

They extinguished the blaze and then found the body in the debris, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said. Langford said it appeared the child had been deceased for some time, and he was wrapped in a blanket or cloth bag.

The fire was intentionally set, Langford said.

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