“I’m restless. It’s unbearable to know that there’s a child out here and we have no clue where he is,” said Germaine Porter. Her own child, Kenneth Porter, Jr., was murdered nine years ago as he was walking home from Proviso East High School, shot to death by a boy with a grudge. Porter, a member of Mothers of Murdered Sons, is one of more than 40 volunteers who’ve assisted with the rescue efforts of one-year old Bryeon Hunter, who was murdered last week by his mother and her boyfriend. Some have trampled in the muck themselves in search for the small body. Others have helped distribute water and refreshments to the professionals.
Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry was a few feet away from Porter, looking out toward the slowly receding Des Plaines River at its 1st and Madison point. The location, the Chief said, is one of several points along the river that the Maywood Police Department, in collaboration with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, have chosen to focus on. The others include 1st and Oak, 1st and Washington, 1st and Chicago and near Maybrook Courthouse. He wanted people to know that he and his officers “have been searching everyday since” Hunter went missing. “We’ve never been out of the picture,” he said.
He also emphasized that, although officials caution volunteers from getting so involved in the search that they hamper the efforts of the professionals, “Nothing stops [people] from rolling up their sleeves, being on the look out and reporting what they see.” Of course, volunteers should understand that they assist at their own risk.
As we stood on the scene, Trustee-elect Michael Rogers and Trustee Melvin Lightford walked up to the bridge. “I’m here as a citizen,” Rogers said, as he looked on. Trustee Ronald Rivers, who’d been talking with Ms. Porter when I arrived, lamented what he felt was a negativity bias that the media had with Maywood. He said that the only time people filmed or printed content about the Village was when there was something bad happening. As he opined, a WGN satellite van was parked in front of him. Another was parked around the corner, outside of the unincorporated zone and in front of the River Forest Community Center — a world and a stone’s throw away.