Illinois toddler mauled to death in pit bull attack during Fourth of July party

JOLIET, Ill. — A 17-month-old girl was killed in a pit bull attack last weekend during a Fourth of July party in Illinois, authorities said.

According to The Associated Press and WMAQ-TV, the incident occurred early Sunday in the bedroom of a family friend's Joliet home. The toddler, whose parents were attending a holiday gathering at the residence, was in a playpen when two dogs somehow got free from the basement, Joliet police said.

After hearing a noise, the homeowner went into the bedroom to find one of the two dogs – both pit bull mixes – biting the child, the AP reported.

Authorities responded to the home shortly before 1:30 a.m. and found the girl unresponsive with multiple bite wounds, the Herald-News reported. Crews rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she later died.

The Will County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Marley Wilander, according to the newspaper.

The dog is now in the custody of Animal Control, police said.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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