A 16-month old girl was reported missing by her mother, a day later police found the girl stuffed in a couch located inside the house they lived in along with other squatters in Will County, Illinois.
Deplorable living conditions:
Sheri Gordon, Semaj Crosby’s mother, grudgingly let detectives inside her home to search it, that’s when the girl was found as per authorities. Crosby’s death was “suspicious,” as per Rick Ackerson, Will County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chief, however, the autopsy isn’t finished yet.
At any given time, around 15 people can live in the house, according to Ackerson. He called them “squatters”, they’re relatives or friends of Gordon, they stayed at the house for a while then left.
After conducting the initial autopsy, the coroner’s office of Will County said on Thursday that the cause of death is “pending further studies.” They stated that it will be known following the reports of police investigations as well as toxicology reports. These could take many weeks, as per a report by the Chicago Tribune.
On Wednesday, Will County Sheriff’s issued a press release saying that family members had reported Crosby missing on Tuesday evening. Last she was seen was with her mother in front of their home. She was wearing a long sleeve grey shirt which had a face of a cat in the front, jeans which were dark blue, she was barefoot, and had several ponytails in her hair with beads.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office and FBI agents searched fanatically for 30 hours for the girl. Her body was discovered at around 8pm in her home in Joliet Township.
David Stocking, a neighbor, said that he saw her about two hours prior to being reported missing in the front yard: “They ran up to the car. They just plain little kids, just out in the front. Everybody was outside. It’s just sad because I feel like I was one of the last persons to see her alive. It just hurts me because this shouldn’t have happened”
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had previously investigated Gordon for neglect. The DCFS officers had paid a visit to the home a few hours before the girl went missing, but they didn’t find anything threatening the safety of the girl.
Deputy director of communications for DCFS, Veronica Resa said: “We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation[s] for neglect opened in March 2017. There were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time. DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016,”
According to Kathy Hoffmeyer, spokeswoman for Will County sheriff, said that the family had been visited by the DCFS last year 16 times.