Severed head found inside bag floating in McKinley Park lagoon

FOX 32 / SUN-TIMES - A severed head and other body parts were found inside a garbage bag floating in the McKinley Park lagoon Friday morning on the South Side.

The human remains were found about 10 a.m. at the park at 2210 W. Pershing, according to Chicago Police.

A Chicago Park District worker found the bag during a routine clean-up and discovered the man’s head and other body parts inside, a source said.

People who use the park are stunned.

"I take them to the park here regularly, fishing, to the playground. And to hear this it's so scary. It's like my front yard,” said neighbor Lisa Flores.

FOX 32 talked to an eyewitness who actually saw the first discovery. He says the severed head is that of an African-American man in his 20s, and it appears it had not been in the water long because there was no decomposition.

Police quickly cordoned off a large part of the park and used cadaver dogs and divers to look for the rest of the body.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says they were able to locate more body parts.

"This is still an ongoing investigation. The head has been identified as an adult, probably African-American. And there are some more body parts that have been sent to the Medical Examiner's office,” Johnson said.

It’s the second time in two years that human remains have been found in a park district lagoon.

Last year, body parts belonging to 2-year-old Kyrian Knox of Rockford were discovered in the Garfield Park Lagoon on Chicago’s West Side.

A number of people have been questioned in that murder, but no one has been charged.

While police scoured McKinley Park Friday, families continued to have picnics and enjoyed a warm Friday afternoon outdoors.

"It's not much of a shock. We do come here often and there is a lot of violence especially in this particular part of the neighborhood. But there's nothing much we can do but try to enjoy ourselves in the surrounding chaos that there is,” said Denisse Catalan, who was picnicking in the park.

Police are also looking at the possibility of draining the lagoon to help them look for evidence.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office confirmed the death, but did not immediately have more details.

Area Central detectives are conducting a death investigation.