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updated: 4/23/2012 2:25 PM

Police investigate Hoffman Estates boy's death

11-year-old found in backyard

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  • Police tape surrounds a Hoffman Estates home where an 11-year-old boy was found outside unconscious and not breathing Saturday. Allan Fernandez died later that afternoon.

       Police tape surrounds a Hoffman Estates home where an 11-year-old boy was found outside unconscious and not breathing Saturday. Allan Fernandez died later that afternoon.
    Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

  • Authorities investigate Sunday in Hoffman Estates after an 11-year-old boy's death Saturday.

       Authorities investigate Sunday in Hoffman Estates after an 11-year-old boy's death Saturday.
    Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

  • Allan Fernandez

      Allan Fernandez

  • Hoffman Estates Sgt. Darin Felgenhauer on Sunday described the ongoing investigation of an 11-year-old boy found unconscious and not breathing Saturday afternoon near his Hoffman Estates home. The boy died later at St. Alexius Medical Center.

      Hoffman Estates Sgt. Darin Felgenhauer on Sunday described the ongoing investigation of an 11-year-old boy found unconscious and not breathing Saturday afternoon near his Hoffman Estates home. The boy died later at St. Alexius Medical Center.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyherald

 

Hoffman Estates police were guarded in their comments Sunday about the case of an 11-year-old Hoffman Estates boy who died Saturday.

Police were called to the 1300 block of Mallard Lane about 1:45 p.m. Saturday, where the boy was found unconscious and not breathing, according to a news release.

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Allan Fernandez was taken by ambulance to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, where he died about 3 p.m.

Earlier reports indicated the boy was found bleeding with a puncture wound to his chest. Hoffman Estates police Sgt. Darin Felgenhauer conducted a news conference at the police station Sunday afternoon but would not confirm the injury.

"There is not much I'm going to be able to release at this time," he said. "Currently it is a death investigation."

The only detail he would reveal is that the boy was found just outside the backyard area, which borders a forest preserve area to the rear.

When asked about the possible concern of neighbors for their safety, he said, "I would say at this time, we have plenty of police in the area. There is nothing to be worried about right now. There is no cause for alarm."

The medical examiner's spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune that he was not shot.

She said the child had been playing outside, and family members began looking for him after he hadn't been heard from for about 45 minutes.

An autopsy was performed Sunday, but medical examiner's officials said the results are pending the police investigation.

The Major Case Assistance Team and the Cook County Forest Preserve police are helping Hoffman Estates police with the investigation.

Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod was hopeful that investigators would come to a conclusion soon.

"I think obviously whenever there's a death like this, there is concern," he said Sunday night. "That's why they are investigating it."

On Sunday afternoon, Hoffman Estates police and representatives from the Major Case Assistance Team were combing the vicinity. Several police lined the block and the Major Case Assistance Team's van was parked in front of the family's house.

Although police were not immediately forthcoming with details, neighbors said they had heard the boy wandered into the forest preserve, where he fell out of a tree and punctured a lung.

A neighbor, Dennis Barr, said the neighbors were planning to get together to show some support.

"It all just came as a shock, obviously," he said.

He said he knew the family very casually. "We have an annual block party here and occasionally see them at the annual party," Barr said. "They were not particularly active with the rest of the neighbors."

John Heiderscheidt, safety coordinator for Elgin Area School District U-46, said the boy was a fifth-grade student at Timber Trails Elementary School in Hoffman Estates.

"It's an awful tragedy," Heiderscheidt said, "and we are doing whatever we can to support his family."

He said the district is activating its crisis team for grief and loss, to support both staff and students.

"We're getting social workers staffed for the school tomorrow and putting some additional resources toward the school for however long we need to," he said.

Neighbor Scott Tendering said the family consists of two parents and two children. "They are good people, from what I know of them," he said.

"It has always been a real safe area," Tendering said. "I have never really been too concerned, and, hopefully, if somebody was back there, it was somebody that normally would be around."

Anyone with information is urged to call the Hoffman Estates Police Department at (847) 882-1818.

• Daily Herald news services and staff writer Paul Biasco contributed to this report.

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