The mother, and two siblings of the deceased child are being held in connection to the case.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 2, 2022. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of child abuse that may be disturbing to the readers.
It's completely normal and expected for children to mess up and make mistakes, but 6-year-old Damari Perry's mistake tragically cost him his life.
Prosecutors revealed that on December 29, 2021, Damari's mother, Jannie M. Perry, told relatives that the boy had to be punished for something he'd done. On December 30, 2021, Perry's family decided to put him in a cold shower as a form of punishment, Assistant State’s Attorney, Kyle Doyle said. The boy threw up before he became unresponsive, according to Chicago Sun-Times. However, it is unclear how long he endured the frigid shower.
He soon became unconscious, but his family made no efforts or attempts to get him help.
Missing Child— ChiCook Officers (@CookOfficer) January 7, 2022
Praying for his safe return.
Damari Perry, age 6 has been missing since Tuesday, Jan 4th & last seen in the North Chicago area.
If You have any information on the whereabouts of Damari, please contact authorities.
It's brutally cold outside; he needs to be home. pic.twitter.com/GDBbfGsxlO
Doyle revealed these allegations Sunday morning during a bond hearing for Damari’s older brother, Jeremiah Perry, according to Lake County spokesperson, Jim Newton. 20-year-old Perry was ordered to be held on $3 million bail for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death, and obstructing justice, Newton said.
Mom Jannie Perry, 38, has also been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death, and obstructing justice. Though she was expected to be in court on January 9, 2021, along with Jeremiah, her case was removed from the call for reasons that weren't specified, according to Newton.
A total of three family members are being held in connection with the case as another sibling, who’s under 18 and faces unspecified charges, appeared in juvenile court the same day. "Another juvenile sibling of Damari faces charges in Lake County's Juvenile Court," reads the statement, per PEOPLE, noting that "all three were taken into custody Friday night."
Damari Perry, the 6-year-old boy who went missing in Skokie, IL, was found dead after an FBI search, the North Chicago Police Department said. https://t.co/pfU4NXLSiE— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 8, 2022
The statement alleges Jannie and Jeremiah Perry reported Damari missing, telling police he was last seen in Skokie, Ill. However, "investigators quickly turned their focus to the boy's home in North Chicago, after the family's story was contradicted by evidence in Skokie," reads the statement.
Investigators said Damari Perry's body was found Friday night near an abandoned home on Van Buren Street, just off Seventh Avenue in Gary, according to ABC 7.
"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," Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Family members are grieving the loss of their loved one. "This is not replaceable. He's not replaceable! We can't go back and get another Damari," the boy's cousin Dreena Driver said. "We're all shocked! We're all in disbelief! We all don't understand how she could let it get to this point. My little cousin should've been away from her!"
Damari Perry was Dalvin Driver's youngest child out of five. "I'm lost, man. I feel like I lost a part of myself when I got that call," the young boy's father said. "He was the best thing you can ever have for the time that I had to spend with him. It was some of the best time that I had in my life. He was just the life of me, man. It's like you can walk in the room and everybody loved him!"
"I pray God don't have no mercy on none of their souls for what they did to him because they hurt my whole family," Dreena Driver added.
A GoFundMe has been on behalf of Damari's father, and proceeds will help cover the child's burial costs.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | Help Dalvin lay his baby to rest