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Chicago man, 28, held on $5M bond in toddler abduction

Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes

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Updated: November 5, 2013 6:27AM



Authorities have charged a Chicago man they say abducted a 3-year old Mundelein girl from the entrance to condos along Deepwoods Drive this week — then returned her to the area a short time later — with kidnapping and other crimes.

Jose Reyes, 28, of 4916 W. North Ave., Unit 3, was taken into custody Wednesday night, and following a bond hearing Thursday is now in Lake County Jail with bond set at $5 million. Authorities with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office charged him with aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping and unlawful restraint, all felonies.

Although Reyes lives in Chicago, he works in Libertyville, said State’s Attorney’s officials.

Reyes refused to provide a DNA sample voluntarily after being arrested Wednesday night at his Libertyville workplace, but officials obtained a warrant allowing them to perform the test.

A judge prohibited him from contacting the victim, victim’s family, any children under 18 years of age, and he is not to be within 500 feet of kidnapping scene at Deepwoods Drive.

“It’s too early to speculate what charges might be added at this point,” Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther said in a Thursday press conference.

The suspect has prior arrests for burglary and assault, said Mundelein Deputy Chief John Monahan, but police are researching in what counties the arrests happened and whether Reyes was convicted.

Guenther said he spoke to the victim and her mother Thursday and the girl is doing well, but police are awaiting results of medical tests on the toddler.

“She is at home, and she is in good condition,” Guenther said, adding that her family felt a “wonderful sense of relief” after learning of the arrest.

The toddler was taken at approximately 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, but witnesses said Reyes had been seen earlier in the day handing out candy to children in the area, police said. He was also reported to be in the area the day before as well, they added.

Reyes did not appear to have any connections to the victim.

“The incident appears to be random,” Guenther said.

Police said they could not give answers as to why Reyes took the girl, or returned her.

Before the abduction, the toddler was walking with her 28-year-old mother — who was carrying her infant son — and her older sister to a building in Diamond Lake Condominiums at 555 Deepwoods Drive. The mother went ahead when the suspect pulled up in a car and had a brief conversation in Spanish with the two children while offering candy just outside the entrance. He then grabbed the 3-year-old.

“The mother returned from shopping with her 3- and 9-year-old girls and had gone through the first set of doors and had started to go through the locked second doors when she noticed the girls had stopped outside,” Guenther said. “He approached the girls, had a 15-second conversation with both of them and then physically picked (the 3-year-old) up and put her in his vehicle,” which Guenther added was parked right out front.

Witnesses saw the car drive away toward Route 45, Guenther said.

“A private citizen’s security camera caught him going into the complex and dropping the girl off 30 minutes later in a rear parking lot,” he said.

About 30 minutes later, a resident saw the girl running in one of the complex’s parking lots, Guenther said.

Surveillance video of the vehicle helped Mundelein police, the FBI and the Cook County Sheriff’s office find and arrest the suspect, Guenther said, adding that police also received dozens of leads after appealing to the public for help.

The victim’s sister and an adult female witness also helped police create a sketch of the suspect Tuesday, which Guenther said is “a wonderful comparison.”

From the surveillance cameras, police were able to determine Reyes’s vehicle was a 2007 Black 4-Dr. Hyundai Accent. This information, along with witness statements, helped police seek possible vehicles. Officers then utilized the Illinois Secretary of State manual look-up, as well as the Mundelein Police Department’s internal records, and found a match that later led to Reyes’s arrest.

Police said the car’s aftermarket wheelcovers had “distinctive markings” that helped in finding the suspect.

The chief said he expects the investigation to continue over the next “several days and weeks.”

“On behalf of the Village of Mundelein, I want to acknowledge Police Chief Eric Guenther and his staff for a job well done in apprehending the alleged perpetrator and getting him into custody so quickly,” Mayor Steve Lentz said in a prepared statement. “We are very grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and diligence in working this case. Their competent actions demonstrate that we truly have one of the best police departments in Illinois.

“Secondly, I want to recognize and thank so many in our community for being engaged with this investigation and calling-in and reporting so many leads,” Lentz added. “You never know which piece of information will turn out to be the key to a successful outcome in the case.”

— Lake County News-Sun staff writers Jim Newton and Frank Abderholden contributed to this report



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