Police: 5-year-old bound, tortured, killed

April 29, 2010 (GARY, Ind.) The child's death has been ruled a homicide.

Gary police were questioning people in connection with the boy's death Thursday evening.

Leon Walker, the 5-year-old victim, would have turned 6 years old Monday, but given how it appears his life was going, there is no evidence anyone was planning a party.

Neighbors-- who were called to his house Wednesday night-- said he was dead long before he was taken to the hospital, a victim of neglect, abuse and worse.

In hardscrabble Gary, the neighborhood is one where even those who say they have seen it all tread warily. One neighbor who did not want to be identified reportedly had Leon and his family over for Easter Sunday dinner.

"It is a tragedy. It is terrible because I went over there, and he was just laying there with his eyes open, and he was dead. I knew he was dead when I walked in the house," the neighbor said.

The disturbance was only the latest on Virginia Avenue. Last Saturday, Gary police were called when 5-year-old Leon went missing. He was found at 2 a.m. hiding under blankets upstairs in the abandoned house next door to his.

"You have to ask yourself, 'What would make a child run away from home to an abandoned house?'" neighbor Harold Wallace said.

The coroner and the police say when an unconscious Leon was brought to the hospital, he was covered in scars, including ligature marks on his arms.

"From what we could see, [it] looked like he was tortured. He was beaten from head to toe," said Sgt. William Fazekas, who was there on another matter. "In 21 years of doing this…it was the worst I have ever seen -- for any human being."

Leon Walker lived with his father Leon Burns, his girlfriend Rochelle and her four children. The adults are being questioned by police.

"It looked like something out of --I can't even describe it--something out of a concentration camp," said Fazekas. "Someday, when the public is able to review those pictures, when they are available, they are going to be outraged."

Gary police say they continue their investigation, and they say they are confident they will be able to bring first-degree murder charges in the case.

The victim's mother, who is in rehab for drug dependency, was just told of her son's death when Sgt. Fazekas spoke to ABC7 Chicago.

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