North Chicago mother accused of killing 6-year-old son remains in hospital

  • Damari Perry

    Damari Perry

  • Jeremiah Perry, 20, of North Chicago

    Jeremiah Perry, 20, of North Chicago

Updated 1/10/2022 10:27 PM

The mother of Damari Perry, the 6-year-old North Chicago boy found dead three days after his family reported him missing, remains in police custody at a hospital, officials said Monday.

Jannie Perry, 38, faces charges of first-degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice.


When Perry was arrested by officers on Saturday, she claimed she was ill and was taken to a hospital, according to a statement by North Chicago police.

Police said Perry will be taken to bond court once she is medically discharged from the hospital. There was no indication Monday morning when Perry might be discharged.

Also charged in the 6-year-old's death is his older brother Jeremiah R. Perry, 20, who was ordered held Sunday on $3 million bail. He faces charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a child under 12, concealing a homicidal death and obstructing justice.

Another older brother, whose name was not released by authorities, is being charged in Lake County juvenile court. He also did not appear in court Sunday.

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Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Kyle Doyle said Jannie Perry told relatives on Dec. 30 that Damari needed to be punished and family members put him into cold water in the tub/shower for an extended period of time.

Damari, she said, then began vomiting and stopped responding, according to Doyle. The child was removed from the water but first responders were not called, Doyle said.

Doyle said Jannie Perry and Jeremiah Perry took the boy's body to Indiana and abandoned it.

On Jan. 5, the family reported Damari missing, prompting a search by North Chicago authorities and the FBI.

But authorities said investigators discovered contradictory evidence and shifted attention to the boy's North Chicago home before finding Damari's body Saturday.


North Chicago Police Chief Lazaro Perez said Damari's body was found near an abandoned house on the 700 block of Van Buren Street in Gary, Indiana.

Lake County Assistant Public Defender Divina Ayala asked for a $20,000 bail, citing Jeremiah Perry's minimal criminal history, with one prior conviction for possession of a weapon without identification. She said he does not appear to be a flight risk or pose a significant danger to the community.

The case bears an eerie resemblance to the death of AJ Freund, 5, who died in April 2019 after he was forced to take a cold shower and beaten as a punishment in his Crystal Lake home. His parents reported him missing three days later, authorities said, but later admitted to wrapping him in plastic after his death and burying him in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock.

Father Andrew Freund pleaded guilty to murder in September 2020 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Mother JoAnn Cunningham pleaded guilty to murder in July 2020 and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

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