DCFS visited family of slain 6-year-old North Chicago boy twice before death

Chicago News

GARY, Ind. — A Department of Children and Family Services spokesperson confirms with WGN News that officials had contact with the family of Damari Perry at least twice before the 6-year-old’s body was found last week in Gary, Indiana.  

DCFS officials visited the Perry family once in 2021 and previously in 2014. 

The news comes as Damari’s mother, Jannie Perry, and two siblings were charged in connection with his death, in what Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart called “one of the worse cases I’ve seen.” 

“He was placed into a cold shower for an extended period of time and held there by family members,” Rinehart told WGN News on Sunday. “At some point, he became unresponsive, vomited and died.” 

Prosecutors alleged abuse and a cover-up following the death of Damari, saying that his mother, 20-year-old brother and an unnamed juvenile hatched a plan to punish the child on his birthday.  

After the 6-year-old boy took his last breath, prosecutors allege no family members called 911.  

“They kept him there for a couple of days and developed a plan to get rid of his remains,” Rinehart said.  

One of Damari’s family members made a false missing person’s report last week, days after the boy had already died. 

Authorities arrested Damari’s mother for first-degree murder, among other charges. Perry was taken to the hospital Saturday after complaining she was ill. She is under police custody and will be taken to bond court once she is medically discharged from the hospital. 

On Sunday, a Lake County judge ordered Damari’s 20-year-old brother Jeremiah Perry to be held on a $3 million bond. Perry is charged with aggravated battery, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice. 

The medical examiner’s office scheduled an autopsy for Monday. Several of the mother’s children are now in the care of DCFS.  

GoFundMe on behalf of the father of Damari Perry has been organized. 

Pending the results of an autopsy, Damari’s family could face more charges in his death.

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