Man charged after 10-year-old girl kidnapped, killed, police say

Antonio Monroe of Blue Island, Ill. is suspected of killing a 10-year-old girl Saturday in Rockford.
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 1:23 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR/Gray News) - Officials in Illinois say a registered sex offender is suspected of kidnapping a 10-year-old girl playing in her yard and strangling her to death.

Antonio Monroe, 44, faces several charges after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Rockford. He is a registered sex offender in Blue Island, WIFR reports.

Police were called to the kidnapping and murder just after 12 p.m. Saturday when a woman said her 6-year-old daughter told her a man took her 10-year-old sister, according to Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd.

Officers found a girl outside around 12:40 p.m. in the 1200 block of 9th Avenue. They performed lifesaving measures on her, but she later died at the hospital.

“From the time my phone rang yesterday in regards with this incident, my stomach has been in a knot,” Redd said. “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.”

Both Redd and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara described their reactions to the girl’s death as “outrage.”

“This is a real life nightmare with a real life monster,” McNamara said. “This is also one of those crimes where there’s not going to be anyone who’s not impacted.”

Police eventually located a man who matched the description of the suspect near 9th Avenue and Woodruff Avenue. He was later identified as Monroe. He was taken into custody then taken to the hospital for an unrelated issue. He will be taken to the Winnebago County Jail upon his release from the hospital.

“We’re not living in a time where you just leave your kids outside playing and no one to watch over them,” Redd said. “Kids aren’t doing anything wrong, but unfortunately, there’s individuals out there that will cause harm to them.”

Monroe faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated battery via strangulation.

Police say the 6-year-old girl who reported her sister missing was also strangled by the suspect. She was treated 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.

Family and friends of the 10-year-old victim gathered Sunday night to celebrate her life with a balloon release. The girl’s mother told WIFR her daughter liked playing basketball and wanted to be a nurse.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the girl’s family.

This is an active investigation.

Local police records show no prior contact with Monroe.