NBC Chicago was on the scene at the funeral of 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter, which was held at New Beginnings Church in Chicago. Read the full article below:
A 1-year-old Maywood boy whose beaten body was found in the Des Plaines River in May was laid to rest Friday.
“I wish I could hold him and see what he turns out to be when he grows up,” said Brenda Lloyd, Bryeon Hunter’s grandmother.
Before family and friends said their tearful goodbyes at New Beginnings Church, they took a stand outside, yelling that Bryeon’s mother, Lakesha Baker, is innocent.
“My daughter is innocent,” Lloyd said. “I’m going to stick by my daughter.”
Bryeon’s disappearance prompted an Amber Alert this spring after Baker told police the boy had been kidnapped. Cook County prosecutors said Baker later admitted to police that on April 15, her boyfriend Michael Scott covered the child’s mouth with his hand and held him down while she beat him with a belt.
Baker and Scott, both 21, were each charged with one count of first-degree murder. They both pleaded not guilty.
The mother and boyfriend blamed each other for disposing of the child in the river, prosecutors said.
Baker’s family on Friday said Scott is guilty and acted alone. At one point Chicago Police had to urge the family members inside the church.
DNA from the boy’s partially decomposed body was sent to the state police crime lab to confirm the identity of the remains, delaying the funeral.