Four teen girls have been arrested in connection with the on-camera beating of a 15-year-old girl with special needs, authorities in Illinois announced Thursday.
Citing Chicago police, CNN reported that two of the arrested suspects are 15 years old while the others are 13 and 14 years old. Lieutenant Ozzie Valdez confirmed Thursday that the girl seen in the video was reported missing on July 18 and that they weren’t aware of the viral video at the time.
The video posted to Twitter on Monday showed the 15-year-old walking when one girl punched her from behind, causing the teen to emit a high-pitched scream. Seconds later, multiple people are seen rushing and punching the crying teen before someone—who was seen partaking in the attack—helps her up before the group disperses.
***WARNING: The video below contains violence. Please use discretion.***
These girls jumped my friend Janise Harris who has a mental disability that has been progressing since the passing of her mother, I know this won’t blow up since I’m a small account but please, share and rt! I want justice for my friend, she didn’t deserve any of this. pic.twitter.com/yq3OkOlTkq
— 𝐭𝐲𝐥𝐚 *+🧚🏽♂️ (@D4MURE) July 23, 2019
Police said three of the girls face aggravated battery charges while the fourth suspect is facing mob action charges.
The Department of Children and Family Services confirmed to WGN that they’ve taken the 15-year-old into protective custody. The agency also revealed that they’ve prior contact with the family, revealing an ongoing neglect investigation.
The victim was reportedly located on the CTA Blue Line on Tuesday, a day after the attack, and was taken to the Harrison District police station. Authorities are reportedly investigating whether she was sexually assaulted during her five-day disappearance.
One of the 15-year-olds charged with aggravated battery appeared in court Friday. Prosecutors alleged she admitted to being one of the girls seen in the viral video. The girl was released to her mother but is on electronic monitoring for the time being, according to WGN.
The victim’s relatives told the Chicago Tribune that she continues to grapple with her mother’s death, which occurred a few years ago. Police are reportedly searching for two more people involved in Monday’s attack.
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[Featured image: Twitter video screengrab]