12:02 AM CST, January 2, 2012
Three teenaged boys being questioned for the New Year's Eve attack on an 18-year-old Highland Park woman came to the Logan Square neighborhood to attend a concert were released without charges late Sunday, the Tribune has learned.
The young woman was sexually assaulted and beaten into a coma after she came to the city to attend a Saturday night performance at the Congress Theatre by Rusko, an English producer of electronic dance music and DJ whose real name is Christopher Mercer.
But rather than going into the show the woman went into a restaurant on Milwaukee Avenue, across the street from the theater, the source said.
While inside the restaurant, she met three people with whom she left, the source said. She was found a short time later on a nearby lawn, apparently beaten unconscious during a sexual assault, police said.
The three juvenile males were released from police custody at about 10 p.m. Sunday, police said. Officials with the Cook County state's attorney's office were continuing their investigation in the case, but were awaiting the results of DNA evidence, a police source said.
The victim remained in critical condition and was "in and out of consciousness," the source said.
According to a release issued earlier by police, the woman was found with no identification about 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the 2100 block of North Rockwell Avenue and was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. The release said she was in the area to attend a concert at the Congress Theater at 2135 North Milwaukee Avenue, a short distance away from where she was found.
Just as police responded to the scene Saturday night, a security guard from the theater saw three juvenile boys near the victim, and he chased and caught them, according to the police source.
The three, described as being in their mid-teens, were taken into custody.
Chicago police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said the victim had been found on a lawn on Rockwell Avenue and that she was a sexual assault victim who may have been beaten as well.
Neighborhood resident Danny Medina, 33, woke up from a nap shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve to discover police swarming his street.
From inside the locked gate leading to his home on Rockwell Street, he saw the paramedics lift the girl into an ambulance.
Medina, a 12-year U.S. Army veteran, said the neighborhood where he has lived for 20 years is safer than it used to be.
While crowds attending concerts at the nearby theater sometimes cause problems on his street, Medina said he could not recall an incident as violent and tragic.
"You can still see the blood," he said, pointing to the sidewalk. "It's is very sad."
Anyone with information is asked to call Harrison Area detectives at 312-746-8252.
Tribune reporters Erin Meyer, Rosemary Sobol and Peter Nickeas contributed.
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