SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A Rockford man has been charged with killing 2-year-old Kyrian Knox last year because the toddler wouldn’t stop crying, and then dumping the boy’s dismembered body in the Garfield Park lagoon.
Kamel Harris, 41, faces one count each of first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and dismembering a human body, Chicago Police announced Tuesday. He is due in bond court Wednesday.
Harris killed the lactose-intolerant boy after he drank some milk and wouldn’t stop crying, Chicago Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said at a press conference on the banks of the Garfield Park lagoon where Kyrian’s decapitated body was found last September.
“The baby apparently ingested some milk and the baby was lactose intolerant, and kept crying all afternoon,” Duffin said. “[Harris] kind of just snapped.”
After taking Harris’ vehicle into custody and obtaining a search warrant, Kyrian’s blood was found inside, Duffin said, though investigators believe the child was killed in Rockford.
“The vast amount of evidence here in Chicago and the fact that Chicago Police have done most of the investigation, it was determined he would be charged here in Cook County,” Duffin said.
Harris was watching Kyrian at the time he was killed in September of 2015, Duffin said. Harris eventually reported the child missing to the Rockford Police Department, though he came to Garfield Park to dispose of the child’s remains because he was familiar with the area.
Kyrian’s exact cause of death, though, remains undetermined 14 months after his death.
Last year, the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled Kyrian’s death a “homicide by unspecified means.”
“The baby had been entrusted to him by the baby’s mother and he made a false report to the Rockford Police that the baby had gone missing,” Duffin said.
Kyrian’s mother, Lanisha Knox, told investigators she left her son with Harris while she moved from Rockford to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Harris was in police custody in Winnebago County on another charge when police arrested him in Kyrian’s murder Monday night, Duffin said.
Sgt. Angel Romero, of the police department’s dive team, said divers were initially called to the park after someone found a child’s foot.
Divers soon found another foot, two hands and, ultimately, the boy’s head, Romero said.
“It was pretty difficult to deal with,” Romero said. “Probably one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with in my 29 years on the job.”
Formal first-degree murder charges against Harris are expected to be filed Tuesday night or early Wednesday, Duffin said.
In November 2015, investigators said they’d hit a wall in the investigation as the last known people to have seen the boy alive were not cooperating with police.
Based on the missing person report, Chicago Police went to Rockford to collect DNA from Kyrian’s mother, which matched the remains found in the lagoon.