Missing Ill. Boy, 14, Is Found Beaten to Death in Ditch, Man Who Knew Child’s Father Charged

A man has been charged in connection with the beating death of a 14-year-old boy in Illinois. The Champaign County State’s Attorney says the suspect was an acquaintance of the boy’s father, the News-Gazette reports.

At about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Steven Butler III was reported missing after he told his father he was going to mow a neighbor’s lawn and never returned home, the paper reports.

“Attempts were made to contact the missing juvenile and a search of the neighborhood was conducted without success,” the Champaign Police Department stated in a press release.

At 7 a.m. the following day, two cyclists called Champaign police about a deceased body found in Urbana, Ill. The body was identified as Steven Butler III, officials confirmed.

“If anyone would like to see my son. He has a youtube channel that he posted some recent videos on. Go see him. His channel is ‘cycle gaming’ on YouTube,” his father posted on Facebook. “He said he was gonna be famous. Son you have always been a superstar to me. Always will be. Love you big guy.”

Champaign police quickly identified a person of interest and preliminarily charged Daryl Vandyke, 55, with first-degree murder, according to officials.

He is being held on $2 million bond and was expected to make his first court appearance today. It was unclear whether his first hearing occurred and whether he entered a plea.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz told the News-Gazette that the boy suffered from blunt-force injuries. An autopsy was expected to be conducted today, the paper reported.

“His unending commitment to solely his children and their best interest, safety and stability is something you don’t always see when a father suddenly has to become the sole provider and single parent but he does it so flawlessly and without a second thought,” the post states.

“Please continue to send your prayers, love and emotional support to my brother Steven, his children and our entire family as we struggle to understand why and go through these very difficult moments.”