Chicago boy died after allegedly being held in freezing shower by family members

Mother, two siblings have been charged

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A six-year-old Chicago boy died after allegedly being held under an ice cold shower by three family members, including his mother.

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The Lake County, Ind., coroner’s office said Tuesday that Damari Perry, whose partially burned body was found Jan. 8 naked in a plastic garbage bag near an abandoned building in Gary, Ind., died of hypothermia.

Coroner David Pastrick also said the child’s body had “partially frozen internal organs,” “extremely cold core temperature” and scattered bruising on his right leg. There was also partial charring, the coroner said, but the burns took place after Damari was already dead.

Jannie Perry, the boy’s 38-year-old mother, has been charged with first-degree murder, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice, while his 20-year-old Jeremiah Perry is charged with aggravated batter causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice. Another sibling, who has not been identified, faces unspecified charges in Lake County Juvenile Court.

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Authorities allege the trio held Damari under a freezing shower on Dec. 30 as punishment for misbehaviour the day before and held him there until he vomited and lost consciousness. His family did not seek medical treatment, Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Doyle told a hearing for Jeremiah Perry. The boy’s body allegedly was then dumped in Indiana the next day.

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Damari’s family reported him missing on Jan. 5, telling cops he vanished the day before from Skokie, Ill. where he had gone with his 16-year-old sister to her friend’s home. Police determined the story was “completely false,” one prosecutor said.

Jannie Perry lost custody of her four other children in 2014 after a domestic violence investigation, and Damari was removed immediately after he was born in 2015, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said she regained custody of her kids in 2017.

Another DCFS investigation was launched in 2021 after allegations of abuse or neglect of Damari but the report was determined to be unfounded.

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