Woman who pushed 3-year-old nephew into water off Navy Pier charged with murder

The woman who pushed her 3-year-old nephew off Navy Pier has been charged with murder in his death, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Victoria Moreno, 34, was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child in the Sept. 19th attack on Josiah Brown.

Brown, of Des Plaines, died from his injuries on Sept. 25 six days after the attack, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. The attempted murder charge was upgraded to first-degree murder Tuesday.

Officials say the boy had to be retrieved from the bottom of the lake by Chicago Fire Department officials after he was pushed into the water on Sept. 19 by his aunt, Victoria Moreno. Prosecutors say Moreno waited until no one at the pier was looking and pushed the boy into the water, then watched him drown.

Divers found Josiah about 30 minutes later, Cook County prosecutors said.


He was rushed to a Lurie Children's Hospital where he was in very critical condition all week. Prosecutors said he had a swollen brain, bleeding in lungs, seizures, and needed a heart infusion because his heart was depressed.

Moreno, 34, was charged with attempted murder and bail was denied at her bond hearing on Wednesday, despite defense arguments that she suffers from mental health issues. Officials said she may face greater charges in the wake of the boy's death. 

Moreno initially told responding officers that she didn't know the boy, then claimed she was holding the boy’s shirt and let go of the boy's shirt because he was "acting up," according to a police report and a source with knowledge of the investigation.

On the day of the incident, the victim's mother left the boy at his grandmother's house where Moreno also lives. 

While another aunt went to wake up her kids and his grandmother went to change, Moreno stole the family's truck and drove the boy into the city from Des Plaines, according to prosecutors. The defendant is not allowed to drive due to the medications she's on. She has a history of mental illness and has taken her nieces without permission before.

Moreno "stole the keys" to the family’s truck and "snuck out of the residence without anyone knowing that she had left," prosecutors said. The other aunt no longer heard the boy talking "and became alarmed," prosecutors said. That’s when she noticed Moreno and the boy were gone and a truck was missing.

Moreno is scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday to face the new charge.