Child missing from Chicago found dead in Riverdale
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter March 17, 2014 2:20PM
The body of 19-month-old Ameriah Roberson was found about 2:35 p.m. Sunday in Riverdale. Her mother's boyfriend has been charged in her death. | Provided
Updated: April 19, 2014 6:18AM
The body of a young girl found slain Sunday afternoon in a wooded area in south suburban Riverdale is that of a child reported missing in Chicago, the girl’s grandmother said Monday.
Police were questioning the mother and her boyfriend, according to the child’s grandmother, Bernadette Madison.
Relatives of 19-month-old Ameriah Roberson, who lived in the first block of Warren Street in Calumet City, said they had identified the body. She was pronounced dead at the scene about 7 p.m. Sunday.
Madison, 46, said her daughter, Jocelyn Roberson, 23, called her Sunday moments after she learned Ameriah was missing. The girl was reported missing about 5:30 p.m.
Roberson’s boyfriend was baby-sitting Ameriah Sunday at a residence on the 3500 block of South Rhodes in the Oakland neighborhood on the South Side. Roberson has known her boyfriend since grade school, but he is not the girl’s biological father, Madison said.
When Roberson arrived to pick Ameriah up after working at a South Side auto parts store, the child was not there. Her boyfriend said he had looked away for a few moments and then noticed she was nowhere in sight.
Madison said the man told her daughter: “She was just right here, but now she’s gone.”
The girl’s body, unidentified at the time, was found about 3:25 p.m. Sunday. Riverdale police received a call from a person who found the body while walking near the 14000 block of South Normal Avenue.
Chicago detectives are working with Riverdale police, Illinois State Police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force as the investigation continues, said police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic.
Ameriah died of a subdural hematoma and closed head injuries from an assault, according to the medical examiner’s office. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Police said previously the child had been with an adult who walked away for a brief moment, then returned to find the child missing.
Monday afternoon, Madison received a phone call from a family member who — after visiting the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office — confirmed the body was in fact Ameriah.
“It was like somebody stuck a knife through my heart,” Madison said. “She was an angel.”
Jocelyn and her boyfriend were being questioned by police Monday afternoon, said Madison, who also had been questioned by detectives.
“Whoever did this I want to see prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” she said.
Madison said her daughter is a “good mother” and that she saw no “signals or red flags” that her daughter’s boyfriend would ever have harmed the child. But she was left grasping for answers as to how the child could be found dead miles away.
“It’s been a hard day,” she said.
Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire