Two-year-old Wayne Dixon and his grandmother Phyllis Peaches were killed in fire in the 3400 block of West Madison when someone burned down the church next door in 2006. Their deaths were ruled homicides, but the case was never solved. | Sun-Times file photo
By SAM CHARLES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire
The names of Chicago’s youngest murder victims are often indelibly etched into the city’s collective memory: Hadiya Pendleton, Jonylah Watkins, Tyshawn Lee.
Their stories, despite similar endings, stick out in a city that routinely sees more than 450 murders each year.
But few know Wayne Dixon’s name.
The 2-year-old and his grandmother were among three people killed in their sleep on the West Side in 2004.
It was a brisk Sunday night, not terribly cold by Chicago standards. Some snow lay on the ground and a healthy southerly breeze swept across East Garfield Park.
The normally trigger-happy West Side community slept soundly and not a single shooting was reported anywhere near 3415 W. Madison St. all day.
But that night–Feb. 8, 2004–someone burned down a church.
The extra-alarm fire spread to the apartment building to the west and, ultimately, took three lives. The killer was never caught and a triple homicide that claimed the lives of a 2-year-old boy and his grandmother would go, essentially, unnoticed by the public after authorities took longer than usual to declare the deaths homicides.