Prosecutors say the mother charged with killing her 6-year-old Damari Perry “punished” the boy with the help of a sibling and kept him in a cold shower for an extended period before he died at their North Chicago home.
Damari Perry, 6, of North Chicago, was reported missing around 5 p.m. Wednesday. His 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.
During a bond hearing Sunday morning, Jeremiah Perry appeared in court.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Doyle said the family of Damari reported that the boy “did something that the mother felt needed to be punished for” on December 30.
That same day, Damari was put into a tub or shower with the cold water on for an “extended period of time,” Doyle said.
Damario vomited and became unresponsive. It was determined the boy was deceased but no one in the family called 911, Doyle said.
Doyle said that Jannie Perry and Jeremiah Perry discussed how to dispose of the body and ended up taking the body to Indiana.
On Wednesday, approximately six days after Damari’s death, the family reported Damari missing.
Police determined the info given to them by the family “was not accurate,” Doyle said.
Doyle asked for the court to impose a $3 million bond, while Jeremiah Perry’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Divina Ayala, asked the court to impose a $20,000 bond.
Jeremiah Perry is on probation for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 4 felony, in Cook County.
Lake County Judge Stacey Seneczko ordered Jeremiah Perry to be held in the Lake County Jail on a $3 million bond. She also ordered Jeremiah Perry to have no contact with any of his family members.
Seneczko noted during the bond hearing that Jannie Perry, who is in police custody and was also expected to appear in court Sunday morning, was no longer on the docket for the morning bond hearing.
According to the state’s attorney’s office, 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.
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, the state’s attorney’s office said.
By late Friday evening, FBI agents and North Chicago detectives had focused their investigation on the mother and the adult siblings.
Information from witnesses led to the discovery of Damari’s body in Gary, Indiana, the state’s attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors indicated 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.
On Friday, Perez said that Damari’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.”
Damari’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.
Damari’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.