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Coroner rules toddler death a homicide

Brock A. Stein | 9/19/2017, 1:39 p.m. | Updated on 9/19/2017, 1:39 p.m.
The Will County Coroner’s office has ruled the death of Joliet toddler Sema’j Crosby as a homicide.
Semaj ML Crosby Will Co Sheriff's office

The Will County Coroner’s office has ruled the death of Joliet toddler Sema’j Crosby as a homicide.

In a press release, coroner Patrick K. O’Neil reports the cause of death as “asphyxia” (suffocation) and manner of death as a “homicide.”

The 17-month old was pronounced deceased on Thursday April 27 at 1:27 a.m. her home on Louis Road in Joliet Township according to the release.

The asphyxia determination followed the “consideration of the circumstances surrounding her death, review of available Department of Children and Family Services reports, police investigation, scene photographs and a complete autopsy examination” according to the press release.

The release also notes the “unusual circumstances surrounding her disappearance and the subsequent discovery of her decomposing body under the couch in her own home” as factors leading to the homicide manner of death determination as well as “multiple previous contacts by the Department of Children and Family Services, the suspicious fire at the residence and lack of cooperation from the witnesses.”

Crosby was reported missing on April 23 and found dead two days later under a couch in her home on Louis Road in Joliet Township.

According to the coroner’s officer, the case is still being investigated by the Will County Sheriff’s Department which in a separate release called the case “the highest priority for both the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Will County Sheriff’s Department.”

“All available resources are being deployed in this investigation,” read the release which also noted the “profound impact on all of the prosecutors and investigators involved in this case.”

The lack of developments and new information from the case is attributed in the release to the “extremely active and sensitive investigation.”

“The Sheriff’s Department has met with and provided as much information as legally permissible,” it said.

“Local law enforcement is committed to this case and will take every step possible to find answers and bring justice for Semaj.”