In Depth: Top Stories Of 2019

WBBM Newsradio Staff
January 01, 2020 - 6:00 am
Chance The Snapper

Chicago Animal Care and Control

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – It was a year of major political change in Chicago, an unfathomable child murder in the northwest suburbs and, unexpectedly, a national feel-good story about an alligator hiding out in Humboldt Park Lagoon.

2019 was all this and more.  

This week’s In Depth podcast looks at some of the highlights and lowlights of the last year.

Politically, the biggest seismic shift was the landslide election of Lori Lightfoot as Chicago’s mayor in April. The former federal prosecutor and onetime head of the Chicago Police Board was a relative newcomer, and few would have predicted the openly gay African-American woman would sail so easily to victory. But that she did, clearing an initially crowded field of candidates and, later, defeating Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the runoff.

Among the myriad of crime-related stories, none struck a nerve like the murder of AJ Freund. In April, the Crystal Lake boy was reported missing by his parents, but their story about his disappearance soon unraveled, and the child's body was found in a shallow grave. AJ’s parents were charged with his murder; his mother, JoAnn Cunningham, pleaded guilty in December.

The western suburbs had their share of tragedy as well. In February, five people perished at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora when a newly fired employee went on a shooting spree. Responding officers killed him.

The news was wonderfully lighter on Chicago’s West Side over the summer as city officials sought to capture a young alligator that somehow found its way into Humboldt Park’s lagoon. The ensuing gator hunt for “Chance the Snapper” – a shoutout to Chicago’s famous rapper – captured wide attention.

Chance the Snapper was ultimately snared by expert Frank Robb. The growing gator is now living the good life at a Florida sanctuary.

In Depth is the WBBM Newsradio weekly podcast that takes a deep dive into a timely issue.