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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Toddler who family said wandered off found dead in home

CHICAGO — The search for a missing Illinois toddler came to a tragic end a little more than 24 hours after it began, according to CBS Chicago.  The child, 16-month-old Semaj Crosby, was reported missing on Tuesday evening, about three hours after her parents were visited by Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators looking into an allegation of neglect.

According to the report, Semaj’s family told authorities they were outside working on a car while Semaj was playing with other children in the yard.  Semaj, they said, wandered off while they were preoccupied.  An intensive search was launched and volunteers joined police in looking for the child all day Wednesday, until the search was suspended because of rain.

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Later that night, around 11 p.m., the sheriff’s office and the FBI obtained permission to enter and search the family’s home.  Semaj’s body was found inside.

An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday to determine how she died.  Officials say the death is being viewed as “suspicious.”

In an email to CBS Chicago, a DCFS spokesperson said they had seen Semaj and her mother’s two other children the day she was reported missing and “there were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time.”

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“We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation for neglect opened in March 2017,” DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in the email. “DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016.”

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