Warning: Details are graphic and disturbing.
The 6-year-old North Chicago boy who authorities say was killed by his family then reported missing days later died of hypothermia and was partially burned after his death, the coroner’s office said Tuesday.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office in northwest Indiana conducted the postmortem examination on Damari Perry on Monday morning after the FBI found the boy’s body early Saturday, the coroner’s office said in a statement.
The autopsy found “scattered ecchymosis on the right leg, extremely cold core temperature, and partially frozen internal organs,” the coroner’s office said, adding that there was “postmortem thermal injury/charring” on the child’s body.
The coroner’s office said his pending cause of death was hypothermia, ruling it a homicide.
The FBI found Damari’s body early Saturday morning in the alley between the 700 blocks of Harrison Street and Van Buren Avenue in Gary, Indiana, officials said. The coroner’s office said his body was found naked and wrapped in a plastic trash bag.
Damari’s mother and two siblings have been charged in connection with his death, the state’s attorney’s office in Lake County, Illinois, announced Saturday, hours after the boy’s body had been found.
His mother Jannie Perry, 38, faces charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death. Damari Perry’s older brother Jeremiah Perry, 20, was charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death, and obstructing justice. A second juvenile sibling was arrested for charges related to concealing the boy’s body.
Damari Perry was reported missing by family members on Jan. 5, officials said, with prosecutors later alleging that the story of his disappearance they gave to investigators was “completely false.”
Prosecutors said at a court hearing for Jeremiah Perry on Sunday that Damari Perry “did something to upset family” on Dec. 29, and as a result, family members put him in a cold shower for an unspecified amount of time as punishment.
At some point, Damari vomited and was then removed from the shower, prosecutors said. The young boy eventually died, and relatives didn’t call for medical attention, according to officials, who said family later brought his body to Indiana.
Family initially told police on Jan. 5 that the boy and his 16-year-old sister were driven to a party in the Skokie area by a man and woman the night before, the FBI said.
Damari Perry’s sister reported that she had several drinks at the party and fell asleep, authorities said. When she awoke, the young boy and man were no longer at the residence, police were told.
The FBI issued an alert on the boy’s disappearance with those details, but the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office later said the story was “completely false.”
After evidence contradicted the family’s story, investigators turned their focus to the boy’s home in North Chicago, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office.
Information from witnesses then led to the discovery of Damari’s body in Gary, prosecutors stated.
More charges could be filed following the completion of the autopsy and as the investigation progresses, prosecutors said.
A judge on Sunday ordered Jeremiah Perry held on $3 million bail, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office. Jannie Perry was taken to the hospital on Saturday after she said she was ill, officials said, noting she would be taken to bond court once she is discharged.