Boy, 2, who fell from abandoned building, was alone, police say

June 20, 2012 3:24:07 PM PDT
Police say a 2-year-old boy was alone when he fell from the second-floor window of an abandoned building on the city's Chicago Lawn neighborhood. His mother has been charged with child endangerment.

The child, who was found on the ground outside the building by a neighbor, survived the fall. He is hospitalized at Comer Children's Hospital. Family members say the boy is wearing a neck brace, but doctors told them he'd be OK.

The boy's mother, Venisha Carter, 22, faces misdemeanor charges, including one count of endangering the life and health of a child and one count of reckless conduct and bodily harm. Authorities say Carter and her son were living in that abandoned building with others. Her boyfriend said they moved into the abandoned building when they fell on hard times.

"He's a pretty good boy, very active. And she's a good mother. Things happen, but she's a good mother," Christine Powell, who told ABC7 Chicago she had been squatting in the same building.

As many as 20 people were living in that building, sources say. County records indicate it is in foreclosure.

"I've complained to the alderman, I've complained to police, and I've constantly called 311 to see what we could do about getting this building boarded up because, if you look at the building, it has a lot of open, busted glass and open windows," said neighbor Lenise Stanton.

"This baby would never had fell to the ground or been in the building if our officials would have acted and boarded up the building and no one could get in," Tarayah Fitzpatrick said.

Officials say the building's owner had been called to court on a number of violations.

"I don't know what was on people's mind. Left that baby in the house. I don't know what was going on in their mind, a young baby like that," Clifton Martin, former resident, said.

"My first thought was the child and parenting. You know, how could someone leave their infant at home alone? It's just a tragedy it happened," Ald. Toni Foulkes, (Ward 15), said. "How can we educate parents to become better parents, especially the younger generation parents, the 25-year olds, you know, some of them really don't know."

Those staying in the building were offered housing in shelters or transportation to get to relatives.

The owner of the building did not return ABC7's calls. The former property manager said its company quit working at the building last year when the owner did not maintain financial commitments.

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