Per the outlet, Damari Perry’s body was found early Saturday in an abandoned house in Gary, Indiana, just days after the boy’s mother and siblings reported him missing.
The boy’s mother, Jannie M. Perry, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death, and obstructing justice. She is due in court Monday.
Damari’s older brother, Jeremiah Perry, 20, has been charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death, and obstructing justice. He appeared in court Sunday and is being held on $3 million bond. A second sibling, whose name and charges aren’t being released, was also arrested on charges related to concealing the boy’s body.
According to the Illinois state’s attorney’s office in Lake County, prosecutors believe that on Dec. 30 Damari was “placed into a cold shower for an extended period of time,” and “held there by family members at the direction of the mother,” who was punishing him.
“We believe the mother may have been involved also, and at some point, he became unresponsive, vomited and died,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement. “I’ve been working in criminal law for almost 20 years now and this is one of the worst cases I’ve seen.”
Damari’s family reportedly waited nearly a week before contacting the Skokie Police Department in Illinois to report him missing.
“They’ve been obstructing justice for many days. They’ve been throwing investigators off for many days and that needs to be dealt with also,” 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.”
Authorities have not disclosed the exact cause of Damari’s death. An autopsy is scheduled to be completed this week in Indiana.
A GoFundMe on behalf of the boy’s father, Dalvin Driver, has been organized.