Update: Will County Sheriffs investigating fire at Semaj Crosby home

5/7/2017, 9:44 a.m. | Updated on 5/7/2017, 9:38 a.m.
Semaj Crosby was reported missing late Tuesday from the Preston Heights neighborhood in Joliet Township.
Semaj ML Crosby Will Co Sheriff's office

Update 5/8/17

Will County Sheriffs responded to a report of a fire early in the morning on May 6 at 309 Louis Rd. in Joliet Township.

The house is the home where 16-month old Semaj Crosby was found dead on April 26 following a search conducted in coordination with the sheriff’s office, emergency responders and the FBI.

By the time that the East Joliet Fire Department and New Lenox Fire Departments responded to the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames according to a press release from Will County Sheriff’s office.

“Due to the extent of the fire, the East Joliet Fire Department advised they would allow the house to burn out while maintaining control,” the statement read.

At the time sheriffs reported that the cause of the fire was unknown and that “the East Joliet Fire Department advised that they would not be calling out an arson investigator.”

The decision not to call for an arson investigation was rescinded about an hour later on May 6 in a statement that noted that after consulting with the Will County States Attorney's Office “it has been decided that an arson investigator from the State Fire Marshall's Office will conduct an investigation to attempt to determine the cause and origin of the fire.”

The home had previously been found “unfit for habitation by the Will County Land Use Department and the owner was attempting to make all the necessary repairs,” read the statement.

The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information or having seen anything suspicious leading up to this the time of the fire to contact the Will County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at 815-727-8574. Tips can be submitted through the Will County Sheriff’s web page at www.willcosheriff.org.

Update: 4/28/17

The Will County Sheriff’s office has released a statement to diffuse rumors surrounding the death of Joliet Township toddler Semaj Crosby. The 18-month old girl was found dead in her Louis Street home around midnight Thursday morning after a day and half search following a report that she had wandered off.

“In order to dispel some of the inaccurate information that has been reported, the Sheriff's Office would like to share and clarify some facts,” read the statement posted to the law enforcement agency’s Face Book page.

“Sheriff's detectives did in fact locate Semaj Crosby lying underneath the couch, located in the living room of the residence. No damage to the couch to indicate that the body was placed in or through the couch was discovered.”

An autopsy conducted by the Will County Coroner’s office didn’t indicate a conclusive cause of death. A statement from the coroner indicated that further studies including toxicology screening would be conducted to provide a definitive cause of death.

The sheriff’s statement curtailed any speculation regarding the cause of death noting “that there were no visible signs of blunt force trauma or physical injury to the body.”

The statement further reiterated that the sheriff’s office considers the death “suspicious” and “are interviewing cooperating witnesses and some family members” with no one in custody or considered a suspect.