A 26-year-old North Riverside man is in Cook County Jail, charged with kidnapping his girlfriend’s two children after two North Riverside police officers spotted him driving his girlfriend’s car with the two children in the back seat as they cruised through Chicago’s West Side on the evening of Sept. 13.
On Sept. 15, Learnell Brown appeared before a Cook County judge, who set his bond at $1.5 million. In addition to two counts of kidnapping, Brown is also charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding police, endangering the life of a child and driving on a revoked license.
Brown allegedly kidnapped the children, 10 and 11, from the North Riverside apartment in the 9100 block of Cermak Road, which he shared with his 28-year-old girlfriend. Earlier on Sept. 13, Brown and his girlfriend had an argument, prompting the girlfriend to obtain an order of protection against him.
About 8:15 p.m., while Brown’s girlfriend was at North Riverside Park Mall getting a new cellphone, her 22-year-old sister received a phone call from Brown, who allegedly told her “to please forgive me for what I’m about to do to these children.”
Brown’s girlfriend called police around 8:30 p.m. to have officers escort her home and check on her children’s safety. When they arrived at the apartment, Brown, her children and her black Chrysler 300 were gone.
Shortly afterwards, the girlfriend was able to reach Brown on the phone. He told her to meet him somewhere on the West Side of Chicago but refused to give her information about where her children were other than to say they were sleeping.
North Riverside police notified Chicago police about the case and a description of Brown and the vehicle he was driving and began monitoring calls between Brown and his girlfriend. He changed the meeting location several times, finally telling her to meet him at Cicero Avenue and Madison Street in Chicago.
While stopped at a light at that intersection in an unmarked squad car, two North Riverside police officers spotted Brown and the two children, when he pulled up alongside them in the Chrysler at the stoplight.
They attempted to stop Brown, but he sped away eastbound on Madison Street through the red light and then southbound on Karlov Avenue, through several stop signs until he struck a traffic circle at Gladys Avenue and careened into a parked car.
Brown jumped out of the car and ran down an alley but was apprehended by police after a brief foot chase. Police reported that he was extremely combative with arresting officers and tried to kick out the windows of a squad car into which he was placed. Chicago police eventually placed him in a paddy wagon to transport him back to North Riverside.
The two children were uninjured and were turned over to their mother at the scene, police said.