Community demands justice 4 years after baby found dead in Markham house fire

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A well-known community activist is on a mission to make sure a little girl gets justice.

Four years ago, the body of a baby was found after a fire in a home in Markham and people in the neighborhood believe criminal charges are long overdue.

"It reminds me of a graveyard across the street from me," said one neighbor.

Torn caution tape, a doll and crayons are what remain at an abandoned property in where a 1-year-old Anna Marie Townsend was found dead after a fire in 2017.

The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.

Four years after the discovery, neighbors said they're upset the case has not been solved.

Those who spoke up didn't want to show their faces because they fear for their safety.

"[It's] very disturbing, knowing that there's killers out there that kills babies," a neighbor said.

"I want to feel safe. I've been here 38 years. I don't want this stuff going on in my neighborhood and if it does go on in my neighborhood, deal with it," said another. "They keep saying, 'it's a process, it's a process' and I talk to Andrew Holmes more. I get more calls back from him."

"The baby's body had been abused. The rib cage, the whole extremity of the body shows signs of abuse," said community activist Andrew Holmes.

Holmes is determined to make sure Townsend will not be forgotten as he urges Markham police and the Cook County State's Attorney to bring the killer to justice.

"I don't want to hear no more excuses from nobody -- not the police, not the state's attorney, not Kim Foxx -- as often, [I] don't want to hear nothing from nobody. No more excuses," he said.

In a statement to the ABC 7 I-TEAM, the Cook County state's attorney said, "While we have been in contact with the Markham Police Department, prosecutors have not been asked to review information for criminal charges related to this incident. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office is committed to seeking justice for victims and will continue to provide support and resources to the police as they further investigate this crime."

"This is an extremely difficult case. The investigation is ongoing and we've been working closely with the State's Attorney's office. It's going to take time to bring this case to closure, but are actively working this case," added Markham Police Chief Terry White.

Holmes said he's dedicated to holding the authorities to their word.

"In the state of Illinois, it seems like you can get away with murder," Holmes said. "We see enough gun violence as it is, but when it comes down to a child getting murdered or killed, there's nothing there to protect the dead child, nothing there to protect the dead baby. And that's an insult."
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