Missing toddler Semaj Crosby was found stuffed inside a filthy couch at her Joliet Township home. Children's services workers had been to the home to investigate Crosby's mother for child neglect just several hours before the toddler was reported missing. A massive searched was launched for the 16-month-old Chicago area baby before her body was discovered on Wednesday, a day after she went missing.
The Juliet Township home where Semaj Crosby lived with her mother and two brothers has now been condemned by law enforcement officers. An attorney for the family described the other five to 15 people who also lived inside the home periodically as "squatters."
The missing toddler's death has been deemed suspicious by police investigators. An autopsy of Crosby's body is currently underway. The Illinois children's services workers inspected the home during the investigation into the toddler's mother and found "no obvious hazards or safety concerns," according to the Chicago Sun Times.
"We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation for neglect opened in March 2017," Veronica Resa, a representative of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said. "DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016."
#RIP: Family and friends hold vigil in Joliet for 1-year-old Semaj Crosby, whose body was found stuffed in a couch. https://t.co/Rc3Exn59iu pic.twitter.com/bxCrFbyHZ3Joliet Township law enforcement officers found Semaj Crosby's body stuffed inside the couch during their second search of the home Wednesday afternoon. Semaj Crosby's mother forced the police officers searching for her missing toddler to get a search warrant before they entered the home. Police officials deemed the home, which had been inspected by children's services workers a day prior, to be in "very deplorable" condition.
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Will County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson said no criminal charges have been filed so far in relation to the death of the 16-month-old baby, MSN reports.
The toddler was last seen just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday. She had been outside playing with about eight other children near the Joliet Township home. Around 11 p.m. the next day, both the Will County Sheriff's Office and the FBI secured a search warrant and searched the home.
— Audrina Bigos (@AudrinaBigos) April 28, 2017
Ackerson said Semaj Crosby's mother was not as helpful to the investigators searching for her missing baby as she could have been.
"I won't say totally reluctant, but I wouldn't say 100 percent cooperative, either," the deputy chief added.
During the course of the search for the toddler, her family retained the services of an attorney. The Will County law enforcement officer said the lawyer "interjected himself" into the ongoing case and "cut" them off from essential aspects of the search. The attorney would not permit the officers to enter the house until they obtained a search warrant.Maria Jones lives just a few doors down from where the body of Semaj Crosby was found. Jones told local reporters the police had been called to the toddler's home at least twice. The neighbor added she did not know the nature of the police visits.
"We'd be sitting out on the patio, and they were always cussin' and fussin'," Jones continued. "You'd see people coming and going all the time."
Ackerson said the police visits, including one on Easter, were primarily domestic disturbances.
Missing little girl Semaj Crosby. If you see her, please call 911. https://t.co/zM6SmjDASsDeputy Ackerson said police investigators are seeking everyone who has been staying at the house or visiting the residence for questioning. He added detectives also want to sit down with Semaj Crosby's mother again for another interview.
— FBI Chicago (@FBIChicago) April 26, 2017
Semaj Crosby's two brothers were allowed to remain in the custody of her mother after the body was found. Ackerson said children's services workers will determine if the remaining children will be able to remain in the mother's care.
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