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Funeral set for 16-month-old girl found dead in Joliet home

Seventeen month-old Semaj Crosby was found dead under a couch at her home in an unincorporated section of Joliet in April. | Will County sheriff’s office photo

The 16-month-old girl whose lifeless body was found in her Joliet home last week will be laid to rest Friday.

Semaj Crosby was found dead underneath a couch in her home late Wednesday after a massive search of the subdivision near Joliet.

Semaj’s family made arrangements with Minor-Morris Funeral Home in Joliet, a Minor-Morris employee said. The funeral home is owned by Joliet City Council member Terry Morris, who will donate a gravesite to the girl’s family.

Visitation begins at 9 a.m. Friday, and a service will follow at 11 a.m. at Prayer Tower Ministries, 500 Stryker Ave., Joliet. Semaj will be buried at Elmhurst Cemetery, 1212 E. Washington St., Joliet. The services are open to the public.

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The Department of Children and Family Services was at Semaj’s home Tuesday afternoon investigating a child-neglect allegation, but saw “no obvious hazards or safety concerns” for the girl or her two brothers, state officials said.

About two-and-a-half hours later, the baby girl disappeared, prompting the wide-ranging search.

But late Wednesday, police found Semaj’s body under a couch inside the home.

On Thursday, a top police official said the house was in “very deplorable” condition, adding that a lawyer for the girl’s mother made them get a search warrant before they entered and found the girl.

The series of events has led authorities to open a “suspicious death” investigation into the tragedy, said Rick Ackerson, investigations deputy chief with the Will County Sheriff’s Office. No one was in custody and no charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon.

The Will County coroner’s office is awaiting the results of lab testing and toxicology reports to make a final determination on the cause of Semaj’s death. However, there were “no visible signs of blunt force trauma or physical injury to the body of Semaj Crosby to indicate the exact cause of death.”

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