(MCT) — Hoffman Estates police were investigating the death of an 11-year-old boy found in the woods behind his house unconscious with a puncture wound in his chest.
On Sunday, one officer stood guard outside the home of Allan Fernandez while two others followed a bloodhound into the woods where the boy was found bleeding Saturday afternoon. By late Sunday afternoon, the property was swarming with officers from multiple agencies.
It's not clear what caused the boy's wound, but the Cook County medical examiner's office spokeswoman said it was not from a gunshot.
"Eleven years old, what a tragedy," said Tammy Bruno, who lives down the street and said she frequently saw Allan, who is known in the neighborhood as "A.J.," walk by her home on his way to school.
Authorities said little about the case during a news conference Sunday afternoon at the Hoffman Estates Police Department.
"I won't be able to tell you much besides it's an ongoing investigation," Sgt. Darin Felgenhauer said. The Major Case Assistance Team and the Cook County Forest Preserve Police Department were assisting on the case, he added.
Police confirmed only that an 11-year-old boy was found unconscious and not breathing in a wooded area beyond the tall, wooden perimeter fence that separates the subdivision and the forest preserve as well as train tracks that lie about 10 feet beyond it.
Police assured neighbors that they were safe. "At this time we have plenty of police in the area. There is no cause for alarm," Felgenhauer said
But as the day wore on, the investigation ramped up.
Allan had been playing outside Saturday when, after about 45 minutes without hearing from the child, family members went to look for him. The tracks near where he was found are a safety concern, several parents in the neighborhood said Sunday.
The Fernandez family's house in the 1300 block of Mallard Lane is adjacent to a Cook County forest preserve that stretches from Schaumburg Road north to Interstate Highway 90 and east to Barrington Road.
Parents in the neighborhood organized a vigil Sunday evening. With family members standing on the porch behind yellow police tape, children who attended Timber Trails Elementary School in Hoffman Estates with Allan held LED candles and parents cried. They listened to a recording of the gospel standard "Amazing Grace" that piped from a small speaker on the Fernandez family's driveway.
"It's scary," said Colleen Moulton, who has two children who attend Timber Trails with Allan. "One o'clock (around the time Allan was found) is recess time."
As family members peeked out from the windows, friend Lee Crum stood on the front porch and spoke into a portable microphone to the small crowd.
"We can grieve with them. We can mourn with those who mourn," Crum said.