A Ford Heights Park District Commissioner has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.
At approximately 10:15 p.m. on June 11, Cook County Sheriff’s Police responded to a report of a 9-year-old girl found in the backyard in the 1500 block of Deer Creek in Ford Heights. She had been with three other juveniles who were at the location about 30 minutes earlier at the invitation of the resident, 56-year-old Charles Howard.
Howard, according to the investigation, was in the front of his house showing the children a pair of goggles that when hooked to his smartphone allows for 3-D vision. The group left, but the 9-year-old stayed behind.
When others in the group did not see the girl after some time, they and others in the neighborhood began looking for her, including asking Howard if he had seen her. Howard, according to the investigation, told them he did not know where she was.
Another group of juveniles, who were helping in the search, found the girl in Howard’s backyard asleep in the lawn chair with other items covering her. They got her out. The girl was taken to an area hospital for a medical evaluation. She did not appear to be injured.
When those juveniles asked Howard about what had happened, he chased the group down the street with a handgun.
Howard, a Ford Heights Park District Commissioner, was charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. His bond was set at $500,000 during his court appearance today at the Markham Courthouse.
Sheriff Dart reminds the public that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the government in a court of law.