BRIDGEVIEW, IL – A young child was reported missing when a minivan he was riding in was stolen late last night has been found safe.
An AMBER Alert had been issued for four-year-old Liam Barbarasa. Liam was inside the vehicle as his dad ran into the 7-Eleven gas station at 79th Street and Roberts Road in Bridgeview when an unknown suspect stole it around 5:37 p.m., police said.
Boy reported missing after minivan stolen in Bridgeview found safe in Chicago, police say – Chicago Tribune https://t.co/L8cjJZU8tL
— Child Safety Kits (@ChildSafetyKit) November 17, 2020
According to police, Barbarasa was located in the stolen van in Chicago, Illinois.
The stolen vehicle had been abandoned in Chicago and was located after people reported a suspicious vehicle around the area of the 4000 block of West Belle Plaine Avenue near a fire hydrant before 10 p.m.
When police arrived, they located the vehicle with the young child inside, unharmed.
UPDATE- They found him safe inside the stolen vehicle! Bless YHVH! 🙌🏼
AMBER Alert (missing child)
Liam Barbarasa – Male, 4 years … Last seen Nov 16, 2020 in Bridgeview, IL … wearing a black jacket, gray pants … Blue 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette #L 7 0 3 5 2 0 (IL)
— Kathryn (@angelkathryn46) November 17, 2020
In a similar incident on November 10, Hartford police in Connecticut faced a similar situation when a vehicle was stolen with two children inside.
In that incident, a mother left her vehicle running, leaving her 15-year-old and her seven-month-old inside, while she went into a store. An unknown suspect entered her vehicle and fled the scene with the children.
Harford Police Department Lieutenant Paul Cicero reported that unknown persons got into the vehicle with the children inside and fled the scene.
Lieutenant Cicero advised that every available unit had responded to the area to attempt to locate the stolen vehicle and children.
The Hartford Connecticut Police released a statement on Twitter:
“Please, please, PLEASE don’t leave your running cars unattended, especially w/kids inside. Scary moment tonight when mom briefly leaves running car unattended w/15-year-old and 7-month-old inside the south end (sic). Every single HPD patrol and specialized unit reassigned until (1/2).”
Thankfully, a few hours after the report, the children were located safe.
The agency said:
“The children were located. Vehicle found in the north end IOA 131 Martin St. Children accounted for and unharmed. The search for the suspect ongoing at this time.”
It remains unknown if the crime of the stolen vehicle was because of the opportunity, or if the suspect(s) wished to do harm against the children involved.
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Police charge couple with murder, kidnapping after killing two adopted children, holding third prisoner in basement
October 30, 2020
KINGSTON, TN – A Tennessee couple has pled not guilty to killing two of their adopted children while keeping a third as a prisoner in a partially flooded basement. Michael and Shirley Gray are charged with kidnapping and murder.
Michael and Shirley Gray were both arraigned on the 42-count indictment that was issued by a grand jury in Roane County. The criminal charges stem from the death of two children that the Gray’s had adopted.
CHILD REMAINS FOUND: Michael Anthony Gray Sr. and his wife, Shirley Ann Gray, were arrested Monday in Roane County, TN. The cause of death is unknown at this time. The investigation is ongoing. https://t.co/eHGhchNBhh
— WRCB-TV (@WRCB) May 26, 2020
The investigation into the couple began in May of this year when a passerby noticed a boy walking alone along the roadway. The boy, who appeared much younger than his age of 11, was taken home by the police, and child services was notified.
Police began interviewing Michael about the child and he allegedly confessed that he had an additional 15-year-old child that was locked in his basement. If that was not shocking enough, he allegedly admitted to having a child buried in the backyard.
Police began searching the home and found the teenager locked in a dirty basement that was partially flooded. The basement had no running water or electricity present and had been allegedly banished there for four years because he had stolen food at some point.
Detectives learned that at some point while the teenager was being held captive in the basement, the Gray’s allegedly moved his younger sister into the basement and kept her stored there until her death. Michael allegedly admitted to police that the girl, who he estimated to be 10 at the time, died in 2017.
Michael allegedly admitted to burying the young girl inside of a barn that was in the backyard of the residence. Police searched the barn in the back yard and located the young girl’s remains buried where Michael allegedly admitted he buried her.
Shirley & Michael Gray, Sr. indicted- bodies of 2 children found on 2 different properties this summer. Indicted for the death of 1 of their adopted children & the abuse and neglect for 2 of the other 3 adopted children. Could be facing death or life in prison. pic.twitter.com/1h07JKeN87
— Marybeth Jacoby (@MarybethJacoby) October 20, 2020
Two other living adopted children were also located inside the home and reportedly showed signs of abuse. According to ABC News, both of those children had spent time locked in a wire dog cage. None of the children had allegedly received any medical care for at least six years.
The Gray’s claimed that their children had all been homeschooled, yet two of them did not appear to have ever been educated in any way. According to arrest warrants, the children “were, in fact, amazed by what a refrigerator does when they observed one in their foster home.”
The Gray’s never reported the deaths of either child, yet were still receiving $3,000 a month in support from the government for adopting the children. The couple was able to get away with this because there is no provision in place to ensure the safety of the children once the adoption has been finalized, something that Republican Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager says needs to be changed:
“I would like to see it changed where instead of just a paper trail, we have the ability to make eye contact, physical contact with those adopted children to make sure that we see for ourselves what the adopted parents have said is true.”
Both of the Gray’s have been taken into custody after the indictment on October 20th. They were each charged with four counts of felony murder, eight counts of aggravated child abuse, eight counts of aggravated child neglect, five counts of falsification of academic records, one count of abusing a corpse, and one count of theft. In addition to these charges, they also face nine counts of aggravated kidnapping and six counts of especially aggravated kidnapping.
If the Gray’s are found guilty of the murder charges, they could receive the death penalty. For now, they have both pled not guilty to all charges and are being held on $1.5 million dollar bond.
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