34 year old Eric Jeffrey Patillo admitted to a witness that he used “boy” on the day in question and admitted to police that “he used heroin that morning” according to the Probable Cause Affidavit filed in the case
August 23, 2018-Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter announced today that a two-count information charging Eric Jeffrey Patillo with neglect of a dependent resulting in death was filed in Lake Superior Court. According to Prosecutor Carter, the charges carry a potential sentence of 20-40 years. Patillo is the father of Evan Patillo, age 2, and Levi Patillo, age 4.
According to information in the probable cause affidavit, Patillo stated that he had been at the Kankakee River with Evan and Levi many times before. He admitted that he borrowed a fishing pole from fisherman Anthony Kyle and Dylan Sherwood. “Eric Patillo stated that he and the boys used a ﬁshing pole that a couple other ﬁshermen let them use and that théy stopped when the boys wanted to play in the water” the report states. Patillo was then questioned regarding his drug usage and he stated that he used heroin that morning. Patillo stated that he used the heroin alone. Patillo denied that he had too much heroin that day and denied that he was “nodding off” according to the sworn statement. ” Eric Patillo then said that he is “beyond sorry” about what happened and that “sorry isn’t close to what he feels”. Eric Patillo next stated that his use of heroin that day could be the reason his boys ended up drowning” the report continued.
Jesse Lintner, who was at the river with Patillo but fled when police arrived, came to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department voluntarily and was interviewed by police. Lintner ” stated that he ran off when the police arrived because he was “freaked out” by everything and that he walked down to “State Line Bar” and called his girlfriend to pick him up” according to the statement. Jesse said that he had been friends with Patillo for 18 years and that they were supposed to work on the day in question but that Patillo did not show up for work according to the statement. ” Eric Patillo offered to pick up Jesse Lintner at a residence in Wheatﬁeld, IN after he and his children dropped of Savannah Sanders at work at approximately 2:45 PM. When Mr. Patillo picked him up, Jesse Lintner stated that he seemed to be acting weird, but he was unsure if it was the effects of narcotics or not. Jesse Lintner stated that Mr. Patillo seemed “ok to drive”. Jesse Lintner also claimed that he had no knowledge of Eric Patillo being a regular drug user, as he himself hadn’t used drugs for some time. Eric Patillo then drove them all out to the boat launch and Jesse wondered why they were there” the statement continues. ” Jesse Lintner said that he stayed in the truck and the Patillos were only gone for what Mr. Lintner described was “a few minutes” when he heard Mr. Patillo yell for him for help. He heard Eric Patillo shouting, “Evan’s gone! Evan’s gone!” Jesse Lintner observed the two other gentlemen running toward the water, so he ran across the bridge and immediately jumped in the water when he found Evan Patillo submerged and brought him out to‘the shore.”
Kyle Anthony and Dylan Sherwood, the two fishermen who called 9-1-1 prior to the drowning and assisted in bringing the boys out of the water were questioned as well. The pair loaned a fishing pole to Patillo and suspected that he was under the influence of drugs when ” he was hooking into the worm, and he was hooking his own ﬁnger, which he (the father) didn’t seem to notice” according to Police. At that time, “Anthony Kyle questioned the father on what he was on and Offered help, to which the father replied that he was on “boy”, which Mr. Kyle knew was a street term for heroin” according to the statement. After about ten minutes, Anthony noticed the father in waist deep water but no longer saw the children. “They decided to get up and go look for the boys. When he got halfway around the bend: of the “bayou”, he discovered the older boy ﬂoating on his back partially submerged, only his kneecaps and hands sticking out of the water. Anthony Kyle called out to the father and immediately dove in and went to the boy; when he stood up, the water was at his shoulder level and he couldn’t see the younger boy. Anthony Kyle took the older boy to the shore and went back in to look for the smaller boy. The father, who Anthony Kyle identiﬁed as Eric at: this point, called for his friend, Jesse. Jesse came running over the bridge, got in the water, found the younger boy, and they got him out and next to his brother. After the boys were out, and CPR had been started, Newton County ofﬁcers arrived and Anthony Kyle. believes that Jesse hid from the ofﬁcers until they passed him and he took off back over the bridge away;form scene. Anthony Kyle observed that Jesse had come with Eric and that Eric had driven” according to the statement.
The boys were then transported to area hospitals where attempts at rescuscitation proved futile. An autopsy was conducted on each and determined that the cause of death for Levi Patillo was asphyxia due to drowning. A preliminary cause of death by drowning was reported by the Kankakee, IL coroner with regard to the death of Evan Patillo.