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Mother, 2 siblings charged in death of 6-year-old boy found in Indiana

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(CNN) — The mother and two siblings of a 6-year-old North Chicago boy who was found dead in Indiana have been charged in connection with his death, the Lake County, Illinois, State’s Attorney Office said.

The body of Damari Perry was found at an abandoned home in Gary, Indiana, overnight on January 8, days after being reported missing on January 5 by his mother and a sibling, according to North Chicago police.

In a news release from the prosecutor’s office, North Chicago police said the family initially provided information that indicated 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,” the release says.

“By late Friday night, FBI agents and North Chicago detectives had focused their investigation on the mother and his adult siblings,” officials said in the news release. “Information from witnesses led to the discovery of Damari’s body in Lake County, Indiana.”

The mother and the two siblings were taken into custody late Friday night and charged early Saturday after Damari’s body was found, according to the state’s attorney news release. Jannie M. Perry, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death, and obstructing justice.

Damari’s 20-year brother, Jeremiah R. Perry, was charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice. A juvenile sibling of Damari faces charges in Lake County’s Juvenile Court, the release said.

It is unclear whether the suspects have retained counsel.

In a bond hearing for Jeremiah Perry on Sunday, prosecutors provided a timeline of events leading up to Damari’s death.

According to Jim Newton, the Lake County State Attorney’s Office spokesman, the victim’s family allegedly punished Damari for something he had done the day before by putting him into a cold shower for an unknown amount of time. While in the shower, Damari allegedly began to vomit. He was unresponsive by the time he was pulled out, Newton said.

Newton said the family did not seek emergency help, and that when they determined the child was dead, he was driven to an abandoned home in Indiana where he was left.

A judge set bond at $3 million for the 20-year-old sibling, Newton said.

The mother did not appear in court, according to Newton.

Jannie Perry was taken to the hospital on Saturday after complaining of being ill, North Chicago Police Chief Lazaro Perez said Monday in a statement.

Perry is in police custody at the hospital and will be taken to bond court once doctors medically discharge her, Perez added.

The juvenile sibling did appear in court; however, Newton told CNN there was no information to release on him.

The state’s attorney news release said more charges could be filed as the investigation continues. An autopsy is scheduled to be completed next week in Indiana.

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