Police release sketch of child whose remains were found in Garfield Park lagoon

FOX 32's Dane Placko contributed to this report.

CHICAGO (STMW / AP) - The Chicago police released a sketch Thursday of a toddler whose dismembered remains were found in a park lagoon and appealed for information that could help identify the child and solve the "heinous, senseless" crime.

The drawing showed an African American child between the ages of 2 and 3 with large wide eyes and a chubby face.

"I was called to the Medical Examiner's office and I was able to look at the x-rays and the medical examiner's photographs and the actual remains. And from that I compiled a sketch," said Detective Tim McPhillips.

Within minutes, volunteers were walking throughout the West Side, handing the sketch out.

"Just pass them out, try to help out the best we can," said volunteer Sigmund Ford.

And looking at the face of the sketch makes the tragedy even more real.

"It becomes a bit more saddening because this looks like a little happy face. and i couldn't imagine someone hurting a child," said Levette Haynes of the Garfield Park Advisory Council.

"We still don't know what happened," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters. "We're going to need help from the public. And people should be outraged."

Detectives are hoping someone will recognize the child based on the drawing. Even before its release, about 150 calls with possible tips came in for police detectives.

The child's remains were discovered over the weekend in the Garfield Park lagoon after someone reported seeing a foot floating in the water. Further searches of the murky water turned up the child's head, hands and other foot. Authorities are draining the lagoon to aid the search for the rest of the body and more evidence.

"They're still out there, making checks along the waterline as it's receding and searching those areas as well, along with all of our cadaver dogs," said Deputy Chief Steve Georgas.

Forensic sketch artist Timothy McPhillips of the Cook County Sheriff's Office said he made the drawing after examining X-rays, coroner photographs and the remains themselves.

There are no piercings, so the child could have been male, but authorities aren't sure because the torso has not been recovered, McCarthy said.

There are no reports of any missing children in Chicago that match the case, he added.

The child's DNA is being analyzed to see if there's a familial match with anyone whose DNA is stored various law enforcement databases.

"We don't expect that the child's DNA is going to be on file. But what we may find is a familial relationship that could help us with some sort of identification," McCarthy said.

Also unclear is whether the child was murdered, because the dismemberment occurred after the death, according to the medical examiner.

McCarthy said detectives would not stop until they solved what he called a "heinous, senseless crime."

"This could be a tragic case of somebody panicking and not knowing what to do," McCarthy said. "But it's certainly a depraved event that we're looking at here and it goes beyond human reason."

All the body parts appeared to be of a child the same age. The hair was short, curly and black in color. The eyes were brown and the child’s ears weren’t pierced.

“All efforts will be made to scientifically identify these body parts, which were badly decomposed,” the statement said.

The medical examiner’s office will consult with a dentist and other specialists to glean more information from the badly decomposed body parts, office spokesman Frank Shuftan said Tuesday.

Police and the medical examiner’s office are asking anyone with leads on missing children fitting the description to contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8261.