Searchers find second child's body in river

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

CHANNAHON, Ill. -- Authorities Monday identified the body of the second child found in the Des Plaines River as that of 5-year-old Ashley Gleeson, who along with her brother had been missing for nearly a month, officials said.

An autopsy determined that the body was Ashley Gleeson's, Illinois State Police spokesman Mark Karczewski said. He would not release any more information from the autopsy.

State police Capt. Dan Roach said officers of the Illinois Department of Conservation participating in the search found the body using a drag line from a boat around 1 p.m. Monday. The body was found about 1/8 mile west of the spot where 3-year-old Joshua Gleeson was found in the water Sunday. He had been shot twice in the head.

Searchers found Ashley Gleeson's body near an Interstate 55 bridge crossing the river.

"We had well over 100 people working on this," including many volunteers on horseback and diving under the river, Roach said. "We were working this operation by air, by land and by water. They (volunteers) definitely put themselves in jeopardy."

The children's father, Patrick M. Gleeson, is jailed in Michigan on a charge of killing his girlfriend and has refused to discuss the children's whereabouts. Dwight police said Gleeson never returned the children to their mother, Edna Smith of Dwight, after a weekend visit.

"We still have a lot of follow-up to do," Roach said. "Our investigators will continue to work with the task force here as well as with authorities in Michigan."

Two fishermen found Joshua dead in the Des Plaines River near Channahon early Sunday. Police identified him through dental records and said he had been shot twice in the head by a small-caliber gun.

Dwight police chief Tim Henson said he notified the mother of the second body.

"She is still grieving (Joshua's death) at this point," he said.

Henson praised both volunteers and the various agencies involved in the search for doing a thorough job and bringing answers to the family as soon as possible.

"The whole operation has just been phenomenal," he said.

Channahon is about 47 miles southwest of Chicago and 30 miles northeast of the children's home in Dwight.

Gleeson is jailed without bond, charged in the death of his girlfriend, 43-year-old Dena Fuglseth. Her body was found Nov. 29 in the cellar of their home near Holland, Mich. Gleeson was arrested Dec. 7 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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