The Crusader Newspaper Group

1-year-old girl found dead in her Joliet Township home

By Jessica D’Onofrio and Michelle Gallardo,
A missing 1-year-old girl was found dead inside her home late Wednesday night in southwest suburban Joliet Township after a massive search.

Investigators were at the home in the 300-block of Louis Road, which is only about 864 square-feet, all night. They had the house taped off as they gathered evidence inside.

The intense search for 16-month-old Semaj Crosby started Tuesday afternoon, when her mother told deputies the baby had wandered away from the front yard. More than 100 volunteers joined about 100 police personnel from several jurisdictions, combing ponds and woods nearby.

Will County deputies, who maintained during the search that they did not believe any foul play was involved, said they gained consent from a family attorney around 11 p.m. Wednesday to enter the child’s home.

Deputies, along with the FBI, found Semaj inside the house around midnight. There are no details on whether her body was concealed, but the coroner plans to do an autopsy Thursday.

Adrian Smith, a neighbor who helped search for the child, said he thought something was suspicious.

“Someone knew. Someone knew. She didn’t get that far. I’m not surprised – unless somebody just up and took her. But I’m not surprised. Nah,” Smith said.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has investigated Semaj’s mother in the past for an allegation of neglect. DCFS was at the home earlier Tuesday, the day the little girl vanished, to speak to her mother. They noted all of the children were present at that time.

Investigators said the family had been cooperative with the search.

So far there have been no reports of any arrests. The investigation is ongoing.

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