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

28 April 2017

Sheri Gordon, the mother of missing toddler Semaj Crosby, is now under investigation for an allegation of neglect, the Department of Child and Family Services confirmed.

According to the Will County Sheriff's Office, a representative of the Department of Children and Family Services had been at the home just hours before Semaj was reported missing.

Will County Sheriff's Department Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson said during a news conference that Semaj Crosby's death was "suspicious", but that an autopsy is not yet complete. Authorities said her mother last saw the toddler in the front yard of their home in Joliet Township, a community about 40 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Spokeswoman Veronica Resa said DCFS personnel had been at the home shortly before the girl was reported missing.

In a statement, the office said further study is needed to determine why Semaj (sa-MAH-jay) Crosby was found dead early Thursday.

The Will County Sheriff's Office "temporarily suspended" its search for a missing toddler in Joliet Township Wednesday night, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Wednesday afternoon: Sheriff's police describe the family as "cooperative" with detectives and say it appears the girl wandered away.

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In this Wednesday, April 26, 2017 photo, emergency divers search the water in a nearby retention pond while searching for 1 ½-year-old Semaj Crosby in Joliet, Ill.

Ackerson said that between five and fifteen people were living in the house at various times.

The sheriff's office is in contact with DCFS about other children who had been at the house, but Gordon's children remained with her as of Thursday morning.

"We need to bring her home", Ackerson said.

Police say the initial indication was that the Semaj disappeared outside of the residence and that is why the search was conducted outdoors.

By 10 a.m. Wednesday, a second team of bloodhounds was called to the scene from Cook County, authorities said.