Six-year-old Damari Perry was found naked and wrapped in a plastic trash bag in a freezing alleyway in Gary, Indiana, last week, an autopsy released Tuesday said.
Additionally, the Lake County Coroner’s Office found “postmortem thermal injury/charring” over the little boy’s body, with signs of bruising on one leg, an “extremely cold core temperature, and partially frozen internal organs.”
The pending cause of death, the coroner said, was hyperthermia, and the manner was homicide, WFLD reported.
Damari’s mother and two siblings have been charged with killing the little boy and trying to hide it by concocting a false story in order to report him missing — a week after he was already dead.
According to investigators, Damari was reported missing on Wednesday, as CrimeOnline previously reported. His 16-year-old sister allegedly said that a man and a woman drove her and her brother to a party Tuesday in Skokie, where she had a few drinks and fell asleep. When she awoke, she said the man and Damari were gone.
Police launched a search, but quickly determined that evidence they uncovered didn’t match the story the family told, and after questioning witnesses, they found Damari’s body in Gary, 70 miles from their home in North Chicago.
Damari’s 38-year-old mother Jannie Perry, her 20-year-old son Jeremiah Perry, and a juvenile were all arrested. Prosecutors said Sunday, when Jeremiah appeared in court, that family members forced Damari to stand in an ice cold shower as punishment on December 30, and — when he vomited and passed out — they let him die without calling 911.
December 30 was Damari’s 6th birthday.
And, it turns out, the Illinois Department of Family and Children’s Services had investigated the family twice before, including removing all four of Jannie Perry’s children following a domestic violence investigation in 2014. The following year, when Damari was born, he, too was placed into foster care, WLS reported.
But two years later, the station said, a court ordered all five children returned to their mother.
DFCS investigated the family again last May on a report that Jannie Perry had written a message threatening to harm Damari, according to WBBM. They closed the investigation after concluding the threat was “unfounded.”
Jannie Perry has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice. She had been scheduled for a bond hearing on Sunday but was hospitalized instead after falling ill. She remains in police custody while at the hospital and will be brought to court once she is released.
Jeremiah Perry has been charged with with aggravated battery causing bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death, and obstructing justice and was ordered held on a $3 million bond at his hearing on Sunday. The juvenile, a sibling of Jeremiah and Damari, is being charged in juvenile court.
Jannie Perry’s children range in age from 4 to 20, officials said, and the juveniles have been placed in state custody, WLS said.
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[Featured image: Damari Perry/North Chicago Police Department]
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