The news that rocked Rockford, Illinois, ripped through the community like a gust of wind, leaving shock and sorrow in its wake.
On Saturday, the mother of two young girls reported to police that her 10-year-old daughter had been abducted. Merely a half hour later, police found the unresponsive child outside a home in the 1200 block of 9th Avenue, where officers attempted CPR in a desperate attempt to revive her. However, the child tragically passed away at the hospital.
The suspect, Antonio Monroe, was discovered at the scene and taken into custody after a brief struggle. The 44-year-old, who was revealed to be a sex offender from Blue Island, Illinois, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery/strangulation, and two counts of kidnapping.
Mayor Tom McNamara and Police Chief Carla Redd expressed their heart-wrenching anguish at the crime. Chief Redd added that Monroe was not forthcoming when encountering officers, and some sort of conversation occurred before the incident occurred.
The 6-year-old girl who reported her sister missing was also strangled by Monroe and was treated and released.
To pay tribute to the 10-year-old victim, loved ones gathered Sunday evening to celebrate her life with a balloon release, where her mother shared that the girl had ambitions to be a nurse and had a passion for basketball. A GoFundMe has since been set up to support the girl’s family.
This all-too-common tragedy reminds us of the importance of remaining aware of our surroundings and constantly taking measures to protect our children. Our hearts go out to the victim’s family in the wake of this heinous crime, and we must join forces to ensure our communities are safe and justice is served.