Gangster, gang leader, armed robber, depression-era antihero and Indianapolis native John Dillinger became a federal fugitive when he drove a stolen Lake County sheriff’s car across the Indiana-Illinois state line, violating the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act.
The mother of Damari Perry, a six-year-old whose body was recently discovered in Gary, appeared in court last Wednesday. Jannie M. Perry, of North Chicago, was charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice. Her bond was set at $5 million.
Two of the child’s siblings have also been charged in connection with the crime. 20-year-old Jeremiah Perry has been charged with aggravated battery, concealing a homicide and obstruction of justice. An unidentified juvenile sibling also faces unspecified charges.
According to Lake County prosecutors, on December 29, 2021, Damari’s mother told relatives that he needed punished. The little boy was consequently forced into a cold shower for an extended period of time, after which he vomited and became unresponsive. His body was then wrapped in a trash bag, and thermal burns indicate someone attempted to burn him. Finally, Damari’s charred corpse was taken to Gary and left near an empty house before the family falsely reported him missing. An autopsy later determined his cause of death was hypothermia.
Perhaps most tragically, the responsibility for Damari’s death reaches far beyond those who stand accused. It has been revealed that Jannie Perry lost custody of her four other children due to allegations of domestic violence in 2014. Because the case remained open when Damari was born on December 30, 2015, he was placed into foster care at the time.
Perry regained custody of her children in 2017.
A six-year-old child has been found dead, and his mothers and siblings have been charged in connection with the crime.
Damari Perry, of North Chicago, was initially reported missing just before 9 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 5, more than 24 hours after he had supposedly last been seen. According to the story his mother, Jannie Perry (38), told her local FOX affiliate, “He was out with his sister at a play date. She had a cocktail. I guess someone put something in her drink. She ended up falling asleep. When she woke up, my son was gone. When she questioned the girl about where my son was the girl said she didn’t know. When she came home, I reported him missing.”
Authorities called in the FBI, hoping to find Damari alive. Instead, in the early morning hours of January 8, they found his lifeless body across the state line, near an unoccupied house on Van Buren Street in Gary, Indiana. Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart then released a statement saying the story the family told is “completely false.” The prosecutor additionally stated, “He (Damari) was placed into a cold shower for an extended period of time, held there by family members at the direction of the mother. At some point, he became unresponsive, vomited and died. Additional accusations have been made by relatives and neighbors that the child was punched and denied food.
Damari’s mother, Jannie, has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicide and obstruction of justice. She is due in court Monday.
Jeremiah Perry, his 20-year-old brother, is being held on $3 million bond. He has been charged with aggravated battery, concealing a homicide and obstruction of justice in his brother’s death. He was already on probation for a weapons violation at the time of his arrest.
A third family member, only identified as an underage sibling, is also facing charges in juvenile court.
The family’s other minor children are now in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services. DCFS has confirmed that they’ve had “prior contact” with the Perrys.