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Crime

Caregiver Arrested in Case of Dismembered Toddler Kyrian Knox

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Chicago Police Department

More than a year after the dismembered remains of a 2-year-old boy were found in a Chicago lagoon, police on Tuesday announced the arrest of the man who had been entrusted to care for him, PEOPLE confirms.

The remains of Kyrian Knox of Rockford, Illinois, were discovered over Labor Day weekend 2015.

“Back then, we said we would not give up until we brought his killer to justice,” Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson said during a news conference Tuesday night. “Today I’m proud to say that we have kept our promise.”

Arrested in the case was Kamel Harris, 41, of Rockford, said police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin. Harris was charged with one felony count of First Degree Murder, one felony count of Concealment of Homicidal Death and one felony count of Dismembering a Human Body. It is unclear at this point how Harris plead, or if he has an attorney.

“He kind of just snapped,” Duffin said of Harris. Harris allegedly became enraged after the toddler, who was lactose intolerant, cried all afternoon after drinking milk, according to Duffin.

Harris and his girlfriend started caring for Kyrian in August 2015 while his mother, Lanisha Knox, was in the process of relocating to Iowa, according to police.

“She was starting a new job in Iowa,” Duffin said. “He agreed to watch the baby.”

Kyrian was last seen in mid-August 2015 but Harris did not report him missing until about a month later, police said. Knox had called to check on Kyrian but never spoke to the boy herself.

On Sept. 4, 2015, a witness found a tiny foot floating in the Garfield Park lagoon on Chicago’s west side.

Later that evening, his right foot and both hands were discovered, and then the next day his head was found. Police used DNA to identify the boy’s body parts. A cause of death has still not been determined, Duffin said.

“It’s hard to fathom why someone would do this to a child,” Chicago Ald. Jason Ervin said during the news conference.

Early in the investigation, Harris told authorities that he gave the boy to a man and two women in August after they said they were friends of Knox’s. Police later tried speaking with Harris and his girlfriend but had trouble contacting them and termed them “unwilling.”