Dad in custody after girl, 3, found near forest preserve

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Father held after 4 yo found alone
A man is in police custody after a 4-year-old girl told police he left her in the Cook County Forest Preserve.

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- A father is in custody after a 3-year-old girl told police he left her alone near the Allison Woods Forest Preserves in Cook County, Ill.

Three Good Samaritans found Aliya all by herself near North Milwaukee Avenue and East Palatine Road in the northwest suburbs on Tuesday evening. They called police.

"They stopped to care for her. They saw this little girl crying, waving her arms. So they stayed with her until forest preserve police came and then our officers arrived," Cara Smith, Cook County Sheriff's Office, said.

All Aliya knew was her first name. Police put out a media alert and almost immediately were able to locate her family.

"The family lives in Lake County and she was found in Northfield Township, so she was far away from any place she was familiar with," Smith said.

Police are investigating the situation. The Department of Children and Family Services placed Aliya with relatives, but not her parents pending the investigation.

"This child, thank God, was not hit by a car or wandered into the street. I mean very, very young to have stayed on the sidewalk when she was in such distress," Smith said.

The sheriff's department has not said what charges- if any- are pending against the father. He is being held outside of Illinois because that is where he was located by officials.