Autopsy results in the “suspicious death” of Semaj Crosby, age 16 months, in southwest suburban Joliet Township were inconclusive today, her death has currently not been ruled a homicide.
Semaj Crosby was found dead at her family’s small home in the block of 300 Louis Road in Joliet Township more than a day after she was reported missing.
After an intense search, including divers searching six ponds, deputies and the FBI negotiated Wednesday with a family attorney to get consent to look inside the home. The child’s body was discovered about 12 a.m. Thursday, April 27, 2017, lying under a couch in the living room.
Investigators removed the couch wrapped in a blue tarp as evidence from the house. The Will County Sheriff’s office said they did not find damage to the couch, which would have indicated her body was “placed in or through” it.
No signs signs of blunt force trauma or physical injuries were discovered that would indicate cause of death. Once toxicology reports come back, the Will County coroner should be able to determine cause and manner of death.
The attorneys representing the Crosby family released a statement Friday, saying in part, “The family would like all to know that they greatly appreciate the outpouring of concern and support from the community, and in particular, the hard work and dedication shown by the FBI and the Will County Sheriffs, who are diligently working to ensure that the truth is brought to light and that justice will prevail for this child and her family.”
The attorney also said the family is asking for privacy as they mourn the loss of Semaj.
The home was condemned because of deplorable living conditions – it was full of cockroaches and garbage. Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson, of the Will County Sheriff’s Department, said Thursday as many as 15 people lived in the 864-square-foot home at any given time. He said a family attorney described some of those people as Semaj’s relatives and some as “squatters.”
There were rumors that the house was a “trap house” where illegal drugs were sold.
On Easter Sunday, three Will County Sheriff’s deputies visited Semaj’s home after they received a 9-1-1 hangup call from the house. When deputies arrived, they sawk children, ages 3-9, playing with sticks.
The deputies reported they spoke with their mother and grandmother, and they determined everything was alright. They noted the children were sad they wouldn’t be going to a relative’s house to celebrate the holiday, and that the Easter Bunny had not visited them.
Deputies went to the store and came back with candy and toys to make Easter baskets for the children. Semaj was in a group photo taken on Easter. The was photo was posted on the Will County Sheriff’s Facebook page before she was reported missing.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family services (DCFS), which investigated the family at least twice before, visited the home on Tuesday, hours before Semaj died.
Police investigators continued interviews Friday with witnesses and family members, as the investigation continues. No suspects are in custody.
Get updates from The Cardinal CRIME BLOG ‘Plus’ on Facebook. Just ‘LIKE’ the ‘Arlington Cardinal Crime & Forensics’ Page (become a fan of our page). The updates cover all posts in the 24/7 Crime Alerts! and sub-categories. See all of The Cardinal Facebook fan pages at Arlingtoncardinal.com/about/facebook …
Help fund The Cardinal Arlingtoncardinal.com/sponsor
CBS 2 Chicago’s Vince Gerasole reports : Semaj Crosby’s mother returns to her home, speaks of her heartbreak.