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Eric Jeffrey Patillo

Age: 34

Residence: Thayer

Booking Number(s): 1808454

Arrest Date: Aug. 21, 2018

Offense Description: Neglect of dependent

Class: Felony

CROWN POINT — A magistrate judge scheduled a $100,000 surety bond Friday for Eric J. Patillo, who is charged with neglect in the drowning deaths of his two young sons in the Kankakee River.

Patillo, 34, of Thayer, will not be allowed to leave Lake County Jail, however, due to a warrant issued in Newton County, where Patillo is accused of violating his probation in a 2017 drug case.

Patillo appeared in custody Friday morning at an initial hearing in Lake County Jail. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivan advised the defendant of his legal rights and entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, both Level 1 felonies.

Each felony is punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Patillo told Sullivan he had not retained private counsel. He said he had no money and only a “beater” vehicle worth $500. Sullivan determined Patillo was indigent and assigned him a public defender.

Sullivan said Patillo's surety bond was scheduled for $100,000, but he would not be able to post the bond for 15 days due to the possible probation violation in Newton County.

The Newton County prosecutor's office did not need the 15 days.

Newton County Prosecutor Jeff Drinski said in an email while Patillo was appearing at an initial hearing in Lake County, his office was conducting a probable cause hearing on a petition to revoke Patillo's probation from the 2017 narcotic drug case.

Patillo pleaded guilty in that case May 30 to possession of a narcotic drug, a Level 6 felony. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, which was suspended for 18 months of probation. He was ordered to continue substance abuse treatment as part of his probation.

Drinski said Judge Daniel J. Molter determined after Friday's hearing there was sufficient evidence to determine Patillo violated one or more conditions of his probation.

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Molter issued a bench warrant with a $25,000 bond, Drinski said.

Patillo is scheduled to appear Aug. 29 at a formal court appearance in Judge Samuel L. Cappas' courtroom.

Patillo is accused of using heroin Tuesday before taking his sons — Evan Patillo, 2, and Levi Patillo, 4 — to a boat launch on the Kankakee River in southern Lake County.

Two fisherman called 911 at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday to express concern about the children's well-being. One fisherman told authorities Patillo appeared to be under the influence of a drug. He said he asked Patillo what he was using, and Patillo said, “boy,” a street term for heroin.

The fisherman said Patillo appeared to “doze off” while his sons played in knee-deep water. He said a short time later, he noticed the boys were missing. He found Levi floating on his back, partially submerged and unresponsive, about 30 yards from the boat ramp.

Evan was found fully submerged about 6 feet from the boat ramp.

The boys were transported to separate hospitals, where they were pronounced dead. Patillo allegedly admitted to detectives from the Lake County Sheriff's Office he used heroin Tuesday morning. A urine sample returned positive results for opiates and THC in Patillo's urine. Detectives are awaiting the results of a blood test.

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