Mother, boyfriend charged in death of toddler in Washington Park

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Brittany Hyc and Dejon Waters | Chicago police

Two people have been charged in the death of 2-year-old Ja’hir Gibbons.

Dejon Waters, 21, faces one count of first-degree murder, while Brittany Hyc, 28, faces a felony count of endangering the life of a child, according to Chicago police.

About 6:50 p.m. Monday, Chicago police responded to a call in the 6000 block of South Prairie Avenue and found Ja’hir unresponsive with sores and bruises on his face and body, police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. He was rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after. His brother, a 5-year-old boy, was also taken to the hospital with signs of bruising.

During the investigation, Waters, who was babysitting the toddler, admitted to battering him and causing his death, police said. Hyc, the toddler’s mother, was placed in custody for knowingly endangering the life of her son by leaving him with Waters, who had beaten the child before.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Service is “conducting a full investigating of this death to understand how and why this occurred,” agency spokesman Jimmie Whitelow said in a statement.

DCFS has a history of previous contact with the family that dates back to 2010. The previous involvement concerned allegations of abuse and neglect related to the young boy’s siblings, DCFS said.

Starting in October, the agency began investigating an abuse allegation involving Gibbons and his mother, DCFS said.

The agency then provided a variety of services to the family, including home visits, individual therapy sessions for the mother and speech and developmental therapy for Gibbons, DCFS said. The most recent visit happened Saturday, when an agency contracted by DCFS reported that Gibbons and his siblings were safe.

“The death of Jahir Gibbons is an unacceptable loss and all of us at DCFS are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” DCFS said.

Waters was ordered held without bail during a hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. Hyc was ordered held on $200,000 bail.

They were both due back in court March 27.