(Lake County, IL) – Lake County prosecutors have initiated murder charges after an intense investigation by local and federal agencies into the disappearance of 6-year-old Damari Perry. Damari’s body was found late Friday night.
On Saturday afternoon, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Damari’s mother, Jannie M. Perry, 38, with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death, and obstructing justice. The office also charged Damari’s 20-year brother, Jeremiah R. Perry, with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death, and obstructing justice.
Another juvenile sibling of Damari faces charges in Lake County’s Juvenile Court. All three were taken into custody Friday night.
Damari Perry was reported missing Jan. 5 by the boy’s mother and a sibling. The family initially provided information to police indicating that Damari might be missing in Skokie, Illinois. But investigators quickly turned their focus to the boy’s home in North Chicago after the family’s story was contradicted by evidence in Skokie.
Because of the involvement of out-of-state witnesses, the FBI led the investigation into Damari’s disappearance. Federal agents, North Chicago detectives, and DCFS caseworkers eventually brought family members to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Children’s Advocacy Center. At the Center, agents, detectives, caseworkers, prosecutors, and forensic interviewers questioned multiple juveniles on Thursday and Friday.
By late Friday night, FBI agents and North Chicago detectives had focused their investigation on the mother and the adult siblings. Information from witnesses led to the discovery of Damari’s body in Lake County, Indiana. Throughout Friday and Saturday, prosecutors and law enforcement agents worked to finalize charges against the mother and two siblings.
Prosecutors indicate that more charges could be filed as the investigation continues, and the autopsy is completed next week in Indiana.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart stated, “Our hearts ache over the murder of 6-year-old Damari Perry. We would not have reached the awful truth of this case without the work of the FBI, the North Chicago Police Department, and the investigators and staff at the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center.”
“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,” Rinehart said.
Rinehart said that the obstructing justice charges stemmed from the family’s “completely false” story about Skokie. Authorities stated on Saturday that the investigation determined there was no involvement by Skokie residents in the situation.
The defendants are expected to appear in Court on Sunday morning for a bond hearing.
During the early morning hours of Saturday, January 8, 2022, the investigation into the case of missing Damari Perry led special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives from the City of North Chicago Police Department to the body of Damari Perry. According to the North Chicago Police Department and the FBI, the body was recovered near an abandoned house in the block of 700 Van Buren Street in Gary, Indiana. The Indiana State Police and the Lake County, Indiana Coroner’s Officer assisted in the recovery. The Lake County, Indiana Coroner’s Office retained custody of the body. An autopsy will be conducted in the near future.
North Chicago Police Department released information Saturday morning, January 8, 2022 that the three adult family members believed to be responsible for Damari’s death were in police custody. All juvenile members of the family are in the custody of DCFS.
North Chicago Police Department detectives were working with law enforcement partners and the Lake County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office to charge those responsible for Damari’s death. The North Chicago Police Department said there is no threat to the general public.
Block of 700 Van Buren Ave …
Police sources had confirmed Friday that missing person case involving 6-year-old Damari Perry of North Chicago became a homicide investigation. Additional details about the death of Damari Perry were not initially available Friday.
The North Chicago Police Department asks anyone who may have information regarding the disappearance and homicide of Damari Perry to call the North Chicago Police Department at 847-596-8740.
The North Chicago Police Department initially requested the assistance of the community in locating Endangered Missing Juvenile named Damari Perry. False information suspects told police was that Damari Perry was last seen wearing a black Jacket, camouflage pants, and black gym shoes at a party believed to be in Skokie on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The false information that police also initially received was that Perry and his 16-year-old sister were passengers in a vehicle that was driven to the party by a female/black known only as “Monique”. They were accompanied by a male/black known as “Wacko” or “Chaos”. “Monique” was reportedly driving a black 4-door Nissan sedan (unknown year or model) with tinted front windows and a dent in the front passenger door.
Damari Perry’s sister described that the apartment building was possibly a three-story yellow building with an exposed stairway. The building maybe located in or near Skokie.
Police were told that Damari’s sister had several drinks at the party and fell asleep. She reported to police that when she woke up approximately two hours later, Damari and “Wacko” were no longer in the apartment, and that she was driven back to North Chicago by “Monique,” police said.
“Wacko” was described as approximately a 22 year-old with a thin build and short braids. He was described as having a tattoo with cursive writing above one of his eyebrows.
“Monique” was described as approximately a 20 year-old and approximately 5’5″ tall.
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