Man charged in abduction attempt at North Avenue beach is held without bail

Tribune reporters

A Chicago man was ordered held without bail today after being charged with trying to kidnap a toddler on North Avenue beach.

The 2-year-old boy was grabbed just before 11 a.m. Saturday in the 1600 block of North Lake Shore Drive at North Avenue Beach, said Police News Affairs Officer Darryl Baety.

Tyrone Hill, 37, of the 6400 block of South Maplewood Avenue, was charged with attempted aggravated kidnapping of a child under 13 years old and unlawful restraint. In a hearing in Cook County Central Bond Court today, he was ordered held without bail because of prior convictions.

Hill was convicted of the aggravated criminal sexual assault of a 7-year-old victim in 2001 in a case charged in 1997, and in 2010 for failure to register as sex offender, according to court records and prosecutors. At the time of the attack in the 1997 case, Hill was 16 years old, according to sex-offender registry records, which would mean he was charged several years after the attack or attacks took place.

A defense attorney said Hill has schizophrenia. In court today, Hill wore a black t-shirt with a purple ribbon logo on the right front that read "break the silence domestic violence" and blue sweat pants.

During a press conference at the beach Saturday night, Commander Leo Schmitz of the gang enforcement unit said the man had grabbed the 2-year-old boy.

"(The father) had to fight to get the child out of his hands," said Schmitz, "I think the father, like most fathers, had as much strength as he needed at the time."

Luckily, the parents were keeping a close eye on the child, who was playing near the water, he said.

After wrestling the child away from the man, the father stopped a nearby bicycle officer and gave a description of the would-be abductor.

The man was identified by officers moments later as he attempted to leave the beach, Schmitz said.

"We have more police down here because we have more people out here," Schmitz said, talking about enhanced police presence for the holiday weekend. "The officers did an excellent job."

Tribune reporter Andy Grimm contributed

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