Three of Damari’s family members have been accused of punishing the boy on Dec. 30 by forcing him to take a cold shower until he vomited and became unconscious, at which time they did not call anyone for assistance. The boy died afterward, and his family attempted to dump his body near an abandoned house in Gary, Indiana, according to local authorities.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office in Indiana had not determined a manner or cause of death as of Tuesday afternoon.
Damari’s mother, Jannie Perry, lost custody of all six of her children, including Damari, who was born into the foster care system, in 2015. She regained custody of all six children in 2017, according to DCFS documents obtained by CBS 2 Chicago.
Prior to Damari’s death, the department had launched two investigations into the Perry family, including one last year in which Jannie Perry sent a message “threatening” to harm the now-deceased 6-year-old. DCFS concluded that the threat was “unfounded,” according to CBS 2.
DCFS did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.
Chicago authorities discovered the boy’s body early Saturday morning near an abandoned home in Indiana after he was reported missing on Wednesday, police said in a press release.
Damari’s family is accused of lying to police and reporters when they claimed the boy went missing Wednesday after his 16-year-old sister brought him to a party in Skokie, Illinois, and lost sight of him.
“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,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Reinhardt’s office said in a press release.
Reinhardt’s office on Saturday charged Jannie Perry, 38, with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice. Reinhardt’s 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 is facing unspecified charges.
Jannie Perry is currently in the hospital for a “medical issue,” and it is unclear at this time when she will appear in court, according to the state attorney’s office.
More charges may be filed in the ongoing investigation.