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

Jannie Perry, 38, was charged with murder after Damari Perry's body was found near an abandoned house in Gary, Indiana, authorities said.

The mother and siblings of a 6-year-old boy whose body was found in an alley in Gary, Indiana, are being charged in connection with his death, authorities said Saturday.

Jannie M. Perry, 38, was charged with first-degree murder, concealing a homicide, and obstructing justice in the death of Damari Perry, the office of the Lake County State’s Attorney said in a statement.

Damari Perry
Damari Perry.North Chicago Police Department

The victim's 20-year-old brother, Jeremiah R. Perry, was charged with aggravated battery on a child, concealing a homicide, and obstructing justice, the office said.

A juvenile sibling was charged in connection with the case, but details were withheld because of the suspect's age.

It wasn't clear if the suspects have legal representation. A Lake County public defender's official did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

The three were arrested Friday night and remained in custody, the office of the state's attorney said.

The juvenile suspect was in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, according to a statement from police in the Illinois city of North Chicago, where the boy was being raised.

North Chicago police were joined by the FBI, Indiana State Police, and other law enforcement organizations in the investigation because the case includes locations in two states.

Authorities said the victim's mother and 20-year-old brother reported him missing Jan. 5. The family members said he was last seen the previous day in Skokie, Illinois, North Chicago police said.

NBC Chicago, citing police, reported that family members initially claimed the victim and his 16-year-old sister were taken to a party in Skokie that ended with the sister falling asleep after several drinks and awaking to find her little brother missing, along with a man who drove them to location.

But Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said the Skokie story was “completely false,” triggering obstructing justice charges against the mother and adult brother, according to the statement from his office.

Undisclosed evidence in Skokie led investigators to focus on the child's North Chicago home, the prosecutor's office said. Interviews with family, including several children, at a county children’s advocacy center Thursday and Friday helped narrow the focus of the inquiry on the mother and siblings, it said.

Those interviews ultimately led authorities to Gary, the office of the state's attorney said.

The 6-year-old's body was found in an alley early Saturday, according to a statement from the coroner of Lake County, Indiana. North Chicago police said Damari's body was found near an abandoned house.

"Our hearts ache over the murder of 6-year-old Damari Perry," Rinehart said in his office's statement.

Authorities didn't disclose the manner of death. The coroner's office said an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

The defendants were scheduled to appear in court Sunday for a bond hearing.