DCFS earlier investigated parents of North Chicago boy found dead in Indiana

Damari Perry, the 6-year-old North Chicago boy found dead Saturday in Indiana, and his siblings were removed from their parents' home from 2014 to 2017 by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, authorities said Tuesday.

DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said in 2014 the department investigated allegations of domestic violence in the Perrys' home and decided to take custody of the children. At the time, there were four children in the household, he said.

From 2014 to 2017, three additional children, including Damari, were born and placed into DCFS custody, McCaffrey said. In 2017, a judge ruled that Damari and his six siblings should be returned to their mother, Jannie M. Perry.

Jannie Perry has been charged by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice in Damari's death. She has yet to appear before a Lake County judge because shortly after being taken into custody Saturday, she claimed she was ill and was taken to a hospital where she remains, authorities said.

McCaffrey said the other time DCFS investigated the Perry family was last May after receiving a complaint of abuse and neglect. McCaffrey said the department found the allegations unfounded and closed the case in June.

Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Kyle Doyle said Jannie Perry told relatives on Dec. 30 that Damari needed to be punished and family members put him into cold water in the tub/shower for an extended period of time.

Damari, she said, then began vomiting and stopped responding, according to Doyle. The child was removed from the water but first responders were not called, Doyle said.

Doyle said Jannie Perry and Jeremiah Perry took the boy's body to Indiana and abandoned it. On Jan. 5, the family reported Damari missing, prompting a search by North Chicago authorities and the FBI.

Damari's body was found near an abandoned house in Gary, Indiana, three days after his family reported him missing.

Also charged in the 6-year-old's death is his older brother Jeremiah R. Perry, 20, who was ordered held Sunday on $3 million bail. He faces charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice.

Jeremiah Perry appeared briefly in court Tuesday morning for a hearing during which the judge assigned him a public defender.

Another older brother, whose name was not released by authorities because he is a juvenile, is being charged in Lake County juvenile court.

By Tuesday afternoon, community members raised nearly $13,500 in an online campaign to help Damari's father, Dalvin, cover the expenses for his funeral. The fundraiser can be found at Organizers could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

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