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Missing Bloomington baby's mother to be charged with concealment of a death

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Bloomington Police
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Bloomington Police are asking anyone who spoke to or had contact with 7-month-old Zaraz Walker or Kimberlee Burton since December 2021 to contact Sgt. Detective Bierbaum at (309) 434-2807 or jbierbaum@cityblm.org.

Authorities believe a 7-month-old girl who’s been missing for weeks is dead.

Kimberlee Burton, 29, of Bloomington, is being charged with concealment of a death related to her daughter Zaraz V. Walker’s disappearance, WGLT has learned. The McLean County jail, where Burton is being held, confirmed the concealment charge was added to Burton’s criminal case on Wednesday.

She’s expected to appear in court Friday on the new charge, authorities said. Zaraz's body has still not been found.

"Although an arrest has been made in this investigation, our work is not complete," said Bloomington Police Chief Jamal Simington. "We will continue to investigate all leads in order to locate missing Zaraz and we need your help. We also ask the public to understand our reluctance to share information about the case, as it may interfere with our investigation. When the time is appropriate or it helps us locate Zaraz, we will share more information."

The case began with a retail theft arrest on Feb. 12. Burton was taken into custody at a store on Market Street. Officers say two children ages 5 and 6 were home alone at the time. The children's grandmother picked them up, and later that night someone called and alerted police about a third child who had been living with Burton — the missing 7-month-old girl. Walker was reported missing Feb. 13 in Bloomington.

A search found evidence that the infant had been living in the residence. A neighborhood canvass in the area of the 300 block of East Wood Street turned up nothing. She’s been missing ever since.

Bloomington Police spokesperson John Fermon said officers have made several targeted searches for Zaraz in Bloomington-Normal and even Chicago based on tips, even using dogs.

Burton already faced charges of child endangerment, related to the children who were found home alone, police said.

Bloomington Police are asking anyone who spoke to or had contact with Walker or Burton since December 2021 to contact Sgt. Detective Bierbaum at (309) 434-2807 or jbierbaum@cityblm.org.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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