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The mother of Damari Perry has been charged with his murder, according to police. Two of the boy’s siblings have also been charged with hiding his body.
In court Sunday, prosecutors said on Dec. 29, 2021, Damari’s mother, Jannie M. Perry, told relatives that the boy had to be punished for something he’d done. Prosecutors said the boy was placed in a cold shower for an extended period of time. He later vomited and became unresponsive, according to prosecutors.
Jannie and Jeremiah Perry, the child’s older brother, then discussed how to dispose of the boy’s body and took him to Indiana, prosecutors said Sunday.
Investigators said Damari Perry’s body was found Friday night near an abandoned home on Van Buren Street, just off Seventh Avenue in Gary.
On Wednesday, the family had called to report the boy could be missing in Skokie, but investigators said they quickly turned their focus to the boy’s home in North Chicago after the family’s story was contradicted by evidence.
“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,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Jannie M. Perry has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicide and obstruction of justice. She is due in court Monday.
Jeremiah Perry, the boy’s 20-year-old brother, appeared in court Sunday and is being held on $3 million bond. He’s also been denied any contact with family members. He’s charged with aggravated battery, concealing a homicide and obstruction of justice in his brother’s death.
A third family member, only identified as a juvenile sibling, is also facing charges, officials said.
“This is not replaceable. He’s not replaceable! We can’t go back and get another Damari,” the boy’s cousin Dreena Driver said. “We’re all shocked! We’re all in disbelief! We all don’t understand how she could let it get to this point. My little cousin should’ve been away from her!”
Damari Perry was Dalvin Driver’s youngest child out of five.
“I’m lost, man. I feel like I lost a part of myself when I got that call,” the young boy’s father said. “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!”
The FBI joined a multi-department search for the boy last week, who they said went missing under “unusual circumstances.”
“Why would a person hurt a child, my child at that,” Driver said. “(It’s) been like a nightmare that ended yesterday when they told me my son wasn’t coming home.”
More charges could be filed as the investigation continues, prosecutors added.
“I pray God don’t have no mercy on none of their souls for what they did to him because they hurt my whole family,” Dreena Driver added.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday, officials said.
The video in the player above is from an earlier report.
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