During suspect’s court hearing, prosecutors detail brutal attack of Belmont-Cragin teen

BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter

January 7, 2014 1:24PM

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Updated: January 7, 2014 3:51PM

The 15-year-old girl was barely awake amid a bloody crime scene when they found her.

Her book bag, keys, gloves and boots were strewn about the backyard in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.

She appeared to be suffering from hypothermia, a prosecutor said.

And that’s when the prosecutor said the girl looked up at Chicago police and uttered her only words to them: She told them she was on her way to school.

Cook County Judge Donald Panarese set bail for the man who allegedly sexually assaulted that girl, Luis Pantoja, at $2.5 million at a bail hearing Tuesday. Pantoja was there, following along with the proceedings through a sign-language interpreter.

Court records show Pantoja, 25, is deaf and goes by the nickname, “Silent.” He is charged with attempted murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez said Pantoja’s alleged victim, an honor student, left for school early Dec. 17 to work on a project.

As she walked toward her bus stop, Gonzalez said Pantoja — dressed in dark clothing, including a dark hoodie — approached the girl. Gonzalez said he struck the girl on the head with a blunt object and dragged her through a gangway to the backyard in the 2400 block of North Long.

Gonzalez said he struck the girl on the head with a blunt object and dragged her through a gangway to the backyard in the 2400 block of North Long.

That’s where Gonzalez said Pantoja raped the girl while the girl bled profusely from her head.

The owner of the home later found the girl, Gonzalez said, at about 8:05 a.m. lying facedown in a pool of her own blood in the backyard. Her clothing had been partially removed, the prosecutor said, and her underwear was around her ankles.

A trail of blood led from the front of the gangway to the backyard, the prosecutor said. The girl was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, Gonzalez said, and she remains in the care of Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital.

Gonzalez said Pantoja’s DNA matched DNA recovered from a condom wrapper at the scene. She also said the brand of condom matched a brand found in Pantoja’s bedroom. She said shoe prints left at the scene are the same size, design and tread as the boots Pantoja was wearing when he was arrested Jan. 3.

Pantoja was also captured on surveillance video, she said, walking toward the scene of the rape at 5:15 a.m. and away at 5:45 a.m. Police believe the rape occurred at 5:25 a.m.

She said he was identified by a witness as he rushed past her on Linder near the time of the rape in his dark hoodie with snow covering his clothing.

A dark hoodie, along with blood-soiled clothing, was also found in Pantoja’s home, Gonzalez said.

Email: jseidel@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SeidelContent

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