A 34-year-old man charged with the murder of a 6-year-old boy in Round Lake Beach refused to attend a court hearing Thursday where a judge increased his bond to $2 million.
Tracy D. Thomas Jr., 34, of Round Lake Beach, was initially charged with 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 upgraded the charges against Thomas on Wednesday and charged him with three counts of first-degree murder.
Thomas was scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a bond hearing on the new charges.
Court records show Thomas waived his right to appear and the hearing was conducted without him.
Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak increased Thomas’ bond from $500,000 to $2 million, meaning he would need to post $200,000 cash in order to be released from the Lake County Jail.
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 Wright 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 Wright 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 in to police in the afternoon of February 24.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Melinda Lange said during a 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.
“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.
Wright’s death comes just two months after another child in Lake County, 6-year-old Damari Perry, was found murdered.
“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 said.
Thomas has not posted bond and remains held in the Lake County Jail as of Friday.