Prosecutors have filed first-degree murder charges after a 6-year-old boy died in the hospital days after he was seriously beaten allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend last month in Round Lake Beach.
Tracy D. Thomas, 34, of Round Lake Beach, was charged with first-degree murder on top of one count of aggravated battery of a child under the age of 13, a Class X felony, and one count of aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony.
Round Lake Beach Deputy Police Chief Wayne Wilde said his department was contacted by medical staff at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville around 4 p.m. on February 21.
A 6-year-old child had been brought to the emergency room with significant head trauma.
The boy was identified as Jayceon Wright, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Wilde said officers went to the hospital and spoke with medical staff and the mother of the Wright.
The mother, who authorities have not publicly identified, rushed her child to Condell in an Uber after finding the child unresponsive with significant injuries on the floor of her home in the 1300 block of Melrose Avenue in Round Lake Beach.
The Round Lake Beach Police Department requested assistance from the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center with investigating the case.
Police detectives and investigators from the advocacy center learned the child was in the home with the boyfriend of the mother just prior to being injured.
Wilde said the investigation showed the child’s injuries were the result of an “intentional act by the mother’s boyfriend.”
Thomas turned himself into police in the afternoon of February 24.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Melinda Lange said during a bond hearing on February 25 that Thomas admitted to striking the child’s head against a bed headboard and a wall.
Lange said that two other children were present in the home at the time of the incident.
Wright was on life support at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge after being transferred from Advocate Condell Medical Center.
The boy died on February 25 at the hospital, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
An autopsy revealed Wright suffered multiple injuries from the assault.
Thomas was initially facing one count of aggravated battery of a child under the age of 13, a Class X felony, and one count of aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony.
Prosecutors then filed the first-degree murder charge Wednesday after the autopsy was complete.
When Lake County Judge Christopher Lombardo asked Thomas during a bond hearing last month if he had hired an attorney yet, Thomas began crying and said, “It’s just hard right now.”
Lombardo appointed the public defender’s office to represent the man.
Lange asked the judge to order Thomas held on a $1 million bond, while Assistant Public Defender Reed Nixon asked for a bond lower than that.
Lombardo ordered Thomas held on a $500,000 bond. He also ordered Thomas to have no contact with the mother and the other children.
Thomas has not posted bail since February 25.
He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning.
“I’d like to thank the detectives of the Round Lake Beach Police Department and the forensic investigators and victim advocates of the Children’s Advocacy Center for their diligent work in this heartbreaking case,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
“For the second time this year, our county is reeling from the murder of a child. Rage can never justify harm – period. Our office will not hesitate to prosecute parents and caregivers who abuse children. Our office will also continue to advocate for victim’s rights in the legislature and in court, and support policies that address the root causes of crime,” Rinehart added.