Weather Updates

Mother’s boyfriend charged with murder of girl found in Riverdale

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: April 21, 2014 6:49PM

The boyfriend of the mother of a 19-month-old girl who was killed Sunday has confessed to killing the toddler, police said Wednesday.

James Harris IV, 23, has been charged with first-degree murder, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. He is expected to appear in bond court Thursday.

The body of Ameriah Roberson was found Sunday afternoon in a wooded area in Riverdale. Harris reported Ameriah missing about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, authorities said. He told police she was last seen outside the lobby of his home in the 3500 block of South Rhodes in Chicago.

Chicago Police, including a canine unit, began an “exhaustive search” of the building and surrounding areas in the Oakland neighborhood on the South Side. Later that night, Area Central detectives learned the body of a little girl had been found several hours earlier in Riverdale.

The child was discovered about 3:30 p.m. — two hours before Harris reported Ameriah missing, police said. Authorities confirmed Monday that the body found in Riverdale was Ameriah.

An autopsy found she died of a subdural hematoma and closed-head injuries from an assault, and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Police said Harris admitted killing Ameriah in his apartment, then driving to Riverdale and dumping her body in a secluded area.

Ameriah’s grandmother, Bernadette Madison, 46, said her daughter, Joclyn Roberson, 23, had called her Sunday evening, moments after she learned Ameriah was missing. Madison said Roberson has known her boyfriend since grade school but he is not the girl’s biological father.

Chicago Police worked the case in conjunction with Riverdale police, Illinois State Police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.