OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Lee County Coroner says police are investigating the death of 7-year-old Nathaniel Burton as a homicide.
Oregon Police say officers responded to a 911 call, for a child who was not breathing, around 2:35 a.m. Wednesday at a residence in the 400 block of S. 10th Street.
Police say Nathaniel was taken to KSB Hospital in Dixon, where he was pronounced dead.
Officials say an investigation is underway. An autopsy was conducted on Thursday, but the cause of death was not revealed.
Nathaniel was a First Grade student at Oregon Elementary School.
The Oregon School District notified families of the boy’s classmates on Wednesday afternoon, saying, “It is with a heavy heart that I share news of the death of a first-grade student at OES. We are deeply saddened by this loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family.”
On Friday, school students created a memorial for Nathaniel at his desk.
Dr. Bryan Willis, OCUSD Board of Education President, released the following statement:
“As a parent, hearing about a child losing their life hits you at your core. We squeeze our kids a little tighter, tell them we love them a little more, and a more profound sense of gratitude washes over us for them being in our life. Then those thoughts of gratitude begin to extend out to family, school staff, and community, as you truly realize that it takes a village to raise a child.
“I grew up in Oregon and have lived most of my life here. Events like the one that took place a few days ago shake a community to its core. We never think things like this could ever happen in our small little corner of our world, but it is amazing to see how quickly everyone comes together to hold each other up when they do.
“The past year has been challenging to say the least. Parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, public servants, and community members have had to endure hard choices and circumstances that are out of our control, and all of us have risen to the occasion. Nothing exemplifies that more than the incredible outpouring of love and support our teachers, counselors, support staff, and administrators have shown for our children over the past few days.
“As a school staff, you do not always get credit for all you do to educate and mold our kids into great adults, but when the chips are down, there is no one else I would want to be there for my kids when they are away from home.
“So from us parents, the school board, and our community, please know you are appreciated, and we are grateful for all you do for our children!“