Authorities are trying to determine whether the body is that of a 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter of Maywood who has been missing since April.
"We made the recovery today. It's very consistent with the remains of the little boy missing. A formal ID will come tomorrow," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
Almost every day for the past month, Robert Larson has been a one-man search team.
"I looked down in that water and I thought, 'This can't possibly be the final resting place for this boy. I just can't let that happen," said Larson.
Late this afternoon, Larson was on the Des Plaines River in a newly-purchased kayak when he came across a little boy's body caught in a pocket of debris near the water's edge. He called police, some of whom had wondered for weeks about the man with dogs who came day after day to search for a boy he had never met.
"I don't know that boy. Never met him. Never met his family. I just thought it was the right thing to do. That's the only reason I'm out here," said Larson.
Departments from several suburbs, as well as the Cook County Sheriff's Department, were on the scene. They searched from the air, ground and water.
Around 5:30 p.m., divers found the body of a small child. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office will have to make a positive identification before it can be said with certainty that this is the body of 1-year-old Bryeon Hunter.
"It's bittersweet. Nobody wants to come across that, but I'd rather come across that and have a final resting spot for Bryeon other than the bottom of that river," Larson said.
Investigators believe that Bryeon Hunter was beaten to death and dumped into the Des Plaines River by his mother and her boyfriend last month.
Bryeon Hunter's mother, Lakeshia Baker, and her boyfriend, Michael Scott, have already been charged with the boy's murder after initially claiming the child had been kidnapped.
"The individuals involved with this case have referenced the Des Plaines River ," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. "The search has been going on for weeks now and today, through the work of a lot of people, a volunteer in particular who was out on a kayak today, was able to come across what looked like the remains of a very young boy."