A convicted sex offender from Illinois has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping and strangling to death a 10-year-old girl who was playing outside with her younger sister, police said.
Antonio Monroe, 44, from Blue Island, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, two counts of kindapping and aggravated battery in the sickening slaying of Destiny Huggins in Rockford Saturday.
“This is a real life nightmare with a real life monster,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said of the case during a press conference Sunday. “This is also one of those crimes where there’s not going to be anyone who’s not impacted.”
Destiny and her 6-year-old sister were playing together outdoors just after 12 p.m. when police said Monroe grabbed both girls and ran off.
The younger girl was able to get away from the abductor and ran home to report her sister’s kidnapping to her mother, who then called the police, according to the Rockford Police Department.
Around 40 minutes later, cops were flagged down by a man who said that he found the lifeless body of a girl outside a home in the 1200 block of 9th Ave.
Responding officers tried to revive Destiny with CPR before she was taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.
“From the time my phone rang yesterday in regards with this incident, my stomach has been in a knot,” Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd told reporters Sunday. “No one ever wants to get a knock on the door and hear from the police that your child has been murdered, especially an innocent child.”
A short time later, a police K9 dog tracked the murder suspect to a location just a few blocks from the crime scene.
Monroe was arrested after a brief struggle and transported to a hospital for an unrelated issue. Once he’s discharged, the 44-year-old will be booked into the Winnebago County Jail.
Police revealed that Destiny’s younger sister was also strangled by Monroe before she was able to escape his clutches. The 6-year-old was treated for her injuries and released.
“I have a 7-year-old daughter, and I just don’t understand how someone has this in their being to do something like this to something as sweet and beautiful as that,” McNamara said.
Monroe is a registered sex offender who was previously convicted of criminal sexual assault involving a 19-year-old victim in Peoria, Illinois.
It is unclear what the suspect was doing Saturday in Rockford, which is 100 miles northwest of his home in Blue Island.
Destiny’s devastated mother told the station WIFR that her daughter loved playing basketball and dreamed of becoming a nurse when she grew up.