Prosecutors have charged a mother with killing her 6-year-old boy in North Chicago and falsely reporting him missing. The boy’s two siblings have been charged with helping conceal the body.
Damari Perry, 6, of North Chicago, was reported missing around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Perry’s body was found late Friday night.
North Chicago Police Chief Lazaro Perez said that special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the North Chicago Police Department located the body near an abandoned house in the 700 block of Van Buren Street in Gary, Indiana.
The Lake County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office announced on Saturday they had charged Damari’s mother, Jannie M. Perry, 38, with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice.
The office also charged Damari’s 20-year-old brother, Jeremiah R. Perry, with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice.
Another sibling of Damari, who is a juvenile, faces charges in Lake County’s Juvenile Court. All three were taken into custody Friday night.
The family initially provided information to police indicating that Damari might be missing in Skokie.
Investigators quickly turned their focus to the boy’s home in North Chicago after the family’s story was contradicted by evidence in Skokie, according to prosecutors.
Because of the involvement of out-of-state witnesses, the FBI led the investigation into Damari’s disappearance.
Federal agents, North Chicago detectives and DCFS caseworkers eventually brought family members to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Children’s Advocacy Center.
At the Center, authorities questioned multiple juveniles on Thursday and Friday.
By late Friday evening, FBI agents and North Chicago detectives had focused their investigation on the mother and the adult siblings, prosecutors said.
Information from witnesses led to the discovery of Damari’s body in Gary, Indiana.
Prosecutors and law enforcement agents worked throughout Friday and Saturday to finalize charges against the mother and two siblings.
Prosecutors indicate that more charges could be filed as the investigation continues and the autopsy is completed.
“Our hearts ache over the murder of 6-year-old Damari Perry. We would not have reached the awful truth of this case without the work of the FBI, the North Chicago Police Department, and the investigators and staff at the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
“Prosecutors, investigators, and victim support professionals worked late into the night and into the early morning to make sure we understood this tragic crime now, because of their rigorous and detailed investigation, we will be able to bring Damari’s killers to justice in a courtroom,” Rinehart said.
Rinehart said that the obstructing justice charges stemmed from the family’s “completely false” story about the boy going missing in Skokie.
Authorities stated on Saturday that the investigation determined there was no involvement by anyone in Skokie.
The defendants are expected to appear in court Sunday morning for a bond hearing.
On Friday, Perez said that Perry’s 16-year-old sister told investigators that she and Damari were driven to a party in the Skokie area by a female black known as “Monique” and a male black known as “Wacko” or “Chaos.”
Perry’s sister described the apartment building where the party took place as possibly being a three-story yellow building with an exposed stairway and said it was possibly in the Skokie area.
Perry’s sister claimed that she had several drinks at the party and fell asleep. When she awoke approximately two hours later, Perry and “Wacko” were no longer in the apartment, she told investigators.
Damari’s sister also claimed she was driven back to North Chicago by “Monique,” Perez said.