Mother, boyfriend plead not guilty to murder of Maywood toddler

Mother, boyfriend plead not guilty to murder of Maywood toddler

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MAYWOOD, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A couple accused of murdering a 1-month-old boy and allegedly dumping the body in the Des Plaines River pleaded not guilty to the crime during a Thursday court hearing in Maywood.

Lakesha Baker, 21, and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, 21, were each charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter, authorities said. Both pled not guilty at a Thursday arraignment hearing at the Maywood Courthouse, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.

Baker initially told police her child was kidnapped -- prompting state police to issue an amber alert, authorities said. She later admitted to police that on April 15, Scott covered the child's mouth with his hand and held him down while she beat him with a belt, according to Cook County prosecutors.

The child ended up on the bathroom floor, "moaning and having difficulty breathing," prosecutors said. Bryeon's torso was purple and bruised.

The mother and boyfriend blamed each other for disposing of the child in the river.

On May 14, the body of a "young male" that "bears strong similarities" to Bryeon was pulled from the Des Plaines River in McCormick Woods near 31st Street and 1st Avenue in North Riverside, said Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

DNA from the partially decomposed body was sent to the state police crime lab to confirm the remains are that of Bryeon, Maywood police Chief Tim Curry said.

Baker is currently being held without bond. Scott is being held on $750,000 bond, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office.

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