Police say suspect in 2011 beating death of pregnant girlfriend caught in Forest Park

Isaiah Barker

Isaiah Barker

FOREST PARK — A man wanted in the 2011 death of his pregnant girlfriend has been caught in Forest Park, said police.

Maj. Chris Matson said officers stopped a driver early Monday morning for high beams on Forest Parkway near Lake Drive. The passenger, later identified as Isaiah L. Barker, appeared nervous during the stop and was asked to step out, said Matson.

When officers asked for identification and started to question him, he started to run, Matson said. One officer grabbed him by the arm and Barker began beating the officer with his fists, he said.

Officers called for assistance while Barker fled along Forest Parkway.

Matson said officers fought with and chased Barker for nine minutes.

“Hand-to-hand techniques, Tasers, pepper spray and an ASP baton had little to no effect,” said Matson. “Officers described him as having unbelievable strength and endurance.”

Matson said Barker was cornered when he jumped in the passenger seat of a patrol vehicle and tried to steal it. Officers were able to surround him but even then, he said it took a few more minutes of resistance to get Barker under control.

“It is believed Barker was under the influence of an unknown substance, which contributed to his endurance,” said Matson.

Barker was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale for treatment of suspected drug use. One police officer suffered a sprained ankle in the altercation.

Matson said it took several more hours to determine Barker’s true identity and that he was wanted in the “brutal” 2011 death of his pregnant girlfriend, Cynthia Funches, 26, in Highland, Ind.

Illinois and Indiana media reported that Funches was found in a plastic storage bin, wrapped in duct tape and a red cloth sack in June 2011. Police there said Funches was from the Far South Side of Chicago and had moved to Highland a month before her death. Police said an autopsy showed she’d been beaten to death.

Matson said Barker will be charged in Clayton County with obstruction of an officer, assault on a police officer and attempted motor vehicle theft.