A fundraiser has been started to help the father of 6-year-old Damari Perry pay for funeral expenses for his son, who authorities say was murdered by his mother, with the help of two siblings in North Chicago.
A GoFundMe account was created by Jakara Hunter, Damari’s stepbrother, for Dalvin Driver, who was the father of Damari. The account has raised almost $9,000 so far.
A GoFundMe representative confirmed to Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the fundraiser is verified and authentic.
“I’m lost, man. I feel like I lost a part of myself when I got that call,” Driver told ABC7 Chicago.
“He was the best thing you can ever have for the time that I had to spend with him. It was some of the best time that I had in my life. He was just the life of me, man. It’s like you can walk in the room and everybody loved him!” Driver added.
Damari was reported missing to the police on Wednesday and his body was found Friday night.
Damari’s mother, Jannie M. Perry, 38, of North Chicago, was charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice.
Prosecutors 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.
A third defendant, who authorities said is a juvenile family member, was also charged in the case. All three were arrested Friday evening.
Jeremiah Perry appeared in bond court Sunday morning.
Jannie Perry was also scheduled to appear in bond court Sunday but did not appear. She also did not appear in bond court Monday.
North Chicago police say she was taken to the hospital on Saturday after complaining that she was ill.
The woman is under police custody at a local hospital and will be taken to bond court when she is medically discharged from the hospital, police said.
During Jeremiah Perry’s bond hearing Sunday, prosecutors detailed the graphic allegations against him and Jannie Perry.
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.
The incident occurred at the family’s apartment in the 1700 block of Sheridan Road in North Chicago.
Doyle said that Jannie Perry and Jeremiah Perry discussed how to dispose of the body and ended up taking it 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 him to have no contact with any of his family members.
An arrest warrant carrying a $5 million bond has been issued for Jannie Perry, court records show.
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 near an abandoned house in the 700 block of Van Buren Street in Gary, Indiana, according to police and the state’s attorney’s office.
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.
Authorities have not said if Damari’s 16-year-old sister is the juvenile family member who was charged in the case.
Jeremiah Perry is scheduled to appear in court again on Tuesday for a status of attorney hearing.