Dozens of people showed up to offer prayers and light candles at the spot where Melissa Kaylanna Rendon’s body was found a week earlier around 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 7 in the Oak Park neighborhood by a passerby who dialed 911.
Her parents, wearing shirts with their daughter’s image at the vigil, said one of the suspects, 18-year-old Joslia Williams, had just slept over their home days before Melissa turned up dead in the street just steps away from an emergency room entrance. Williams and 40-year-old Sergio Hernandez have been charged with sex crimes and each remains held on a $500,000 bond.
Rendon’s father, Jeffrey Carrillo, told the Chicago Tribune he wants the two suspects’ charges to be upgraded to murder, adding that he’ll advocate for tougher bond restrictions to ensure accused child rapists cannot return to the streets awaiting trial.
"I want to talk to congressmen and have a law made that someone who rapes a child should not be allowed to get a bond because if he raises the money, he’ll be able to go home. My daughter can’t come home," Carrillo said.
Joslia Williams (left) and Sergio Hernandez (right) are facing sex crime charges in connection to the death of 15-year-old Melissa Kaylanna Rendon. (Oak Park Police Department)
"There’s an emergency room 100, maybe 200 feet away and this is where you put her? It’s the hardest part of the situation. He drugged her, he raped her and he dropped her dead body right here, 200 feet from the emergency room."
The girl’s mother, Melissa Rendon, said her daughter was vulnerable because she had "an intellectual disability along with other mental illnesses."
Williams allegedly recorded several videos posted to SnapChat detailing the night before Rendon’s death, according to a bond proffer read out in court Tuesday by an assistant Cook County state’s attorney. The two teens were inside 40-year-old Hernandez’ car that evening where all three were drinking and smoking marijuana. Rendon and Williams also took pills believed to be Xanax.
One of the videos shared on social media showed Hernandez in the front seat having sex with Rendon’s visibly unconscious body, prosecutors said. The man and Williams then pulled the 15-year-old into the back seat and fell asleep for several hours. They later woke up to find Rendon no longer breathing and unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate her.
Prosecutors said Hernandez dragged Rendon out of the car, dumping the 15-year-old’s lifeless body onto the ground and leaving the scene.
A medical examiner’s report, which will determine the exact cause and manner of death, is still pending.
Hernandez was charged with criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and concealment of a death. Williams was charged with child pornography and concealment of a death. Charges against Williams and Hernandez may be upgraded depending on further investigation, Oak Park Police Commander Paul Kane said.
"I don’t want anyone to go through this," a tearful Carrillo told the Tribune. "I don’t even want my worst enemy to go through something like what happened to my daughter. It’s not fair."
The vigil Saturday came three days after Melissa’s funeral Mass Thursday.
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