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6-year-old boy forced into cold shower as punishment before body dumped in abandoned building: prosecutors

Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Doyle made those unsettling revelations Sunday morning during a bond hearing for Damari’s older brother, Jeremiah Perry, according to Lake County spokesperson Jim Newton.

A man was order held without bail for allegedly attacking his girlfriend with an ax Dec. 31, 2021. Adobe Stock Photo

Family members of a 6-year-old boy whose body was found in Indiana this weekend after he had been reported missing forced the child into a cold shower as punishment before his death, Lake County (Illinois) prosecutors said Sunday.

It’s unclear how long Damari Perry endured the frigid shower before he started vomiting and became unresponsive. But after he had died, the family decided to discard the boy’s body in an abandoned building in Gary, Indiana, prosecutors said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Doyle revealed these allegations Sunday morning during a bond hearing for Damari’s older brother, Jeremiah Perry, according to Lake County spokesperson Jim Newton.

The 20-year-old Perry was ordered to be held on $3 million bail for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice, Newton said.

Perry was one of three family members charged in connection with Damari’s death.

Damari’s mother, Jannie Perry, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice. She was also expected to be in court Sunday, though her case was removed from the call for unspecified reasons, according to Newton, who directed questions to the local police department.

North Chicago Police Chief Lazaro Perez didn’t return the Sun-Times’ inquiry about the family’s matriarch.

Another sibling, who’s under 18 and faces unspecified charges, appeared in juvenile court Sunday; Newton declined to provide additional details in that case.

On Dec. 30, the family decided to punish Damari for something he had done the day before by putting him in a cold shower, Doyle said. The boy threw up before he became unresponsive.

The family allegedly made no attempt to contact emergency medical help or call the police. Instead, they decided to take his body to Indiana, where he was found late Friday night, Doyle said.

Before the discovery, Jannie Perry and a sibling reported Damari missing Wednesday, saying he was last seen the day before.

Damari Perry
Damari Perry
North Chicago police

Though the family initially indicated Damari might be missing in Skokie, investigators found the family’s story “was contradicted by evidence” in the northern suburb and turned their focus to the boy’s home in North Chicago, authorities previously said.

The Lake County Coroner’s office in Crown Point, Indiana, is expected to complete Damari’s autopsy Monday and additional charges could be filed based on the findings, the state’s attorney’s office previously said.

Additional juvenile members of the family had been placed in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services, officials said.

It’s not known when Jannie Perry will have her bond hearing. Jeremiah Perry is due back in court Jan. 11.