Months before his death, Elk Grove toddler was kidnapped
Months before 3-year-old Steven Figueroa was killed in Elk Grove Village, the toddler was at the center of a domestic kidnapping case that stalled apparently because his mother, who has been charged with his murder, didn't cooperate with the investigation, according to a recently obtained police report.
The report shows Steven, then 2, was abducted on Valentine's Day by his noncustodial father, prompting an emergency search across the suburbs. The boy would be returned safely within hours of the abduction.
Though police told the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services about the abduction, the state agency did not pursue the case because investigators did not indicate the child had been harmed.
"It was basically one parent taking a child from anther," DCFS spokesman Neil Skene said. "Without an allegation that a parent has abused or neglected a child, we don't do an investigation."
Elk Grove Village police confirmed that detectives notified the agency as part of protocol with any case involving a child. The police department did not indicate Steven had been harmed in the incident, Deputy Chief Michael Gaspari said.
Seven months later, Steven's mother, 22-year-old Joy Ramos, took him to Alexian Brothers Medical Center, where he died Sept. 13. Steven had suffered two lacerations to his liver and multiple bruises to his back, head and abdomen. Ramos now faces murder charges, to which she's pleaded not guilty.
According to the kidnapping report, Ramos told investigators that Steven's father entered her Elk Grove Village apartment uninvited because he wanted to spend time with the child. Ramos told detectives she grabbed a knife and stood in a hallway to block the father from taking Steven. The two apparently got into a fight before the father eventually took Steven to his car, according to the report.
Ramos said she called 911 and followed them outside. When the father found out she was calling the police, he threw her onto the ground several times, according to the report. Police searched for the father, and about an hour later he dropped the child off with a relative in Hoffman Estates, according to the report.
Police scheduled an interview with Steven's older sibling, who had witnessed the altercation and abduction, two days later at the Children's Advocacy Center. However, Ramos refused to bring the sibling, they said.
Elk Grove Village police continued trying to talk with Ramos for the next month. They eventually talked to Ramos at her apartment, but she told police she didn't want them to investigate, according to the report. The father was never charged in the case.
DCFS and Elk Grove Village police said they are still investigating Steven's death.