Crown Point, Ind. (CBS) — An autopsy revealed that the body of 6-year-old Damri Perry was naked and partially burned when dumped in Gary, Indiana, and that the likely cause of his death was hypothermia.
As reported by CBS 2’s Germont Terry, Damari was first reported missing by his family last week and was believed to be in extreme danger. But officials said the family’s story about how he disappeared after going to a party with his sister was not true – and his mother and two siblings have now been charged with his death.
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We already knew that Damari was tortured in a cold bath before he died. But a Lake County, Indiana coroner’s report suggests that the child experienced underlying anguish prior to his murder.
Damri was a precious child whose six years on earth proved to be painful. As police issued a missing persons alert for Damri last week, the investigation eventually revealed that the boy’s body was dumped like garbage in a snow-covered field in Gary.
The coroner’s office said the FBI found Damri’s body off 700 Block Alley between Harrison Street and Van Buren Avenue. The coroner’s office reported that his body was naked and wrapped in a garbage bag and partially scorched.
An autopsy on Damri’s body found scattered ecchymosis on his right leg—deep wounds and discoloration of the skin due to bleeding underneath.
But the wounds of torture were deeper than Damri’s skin. The autopsy also found that his core temperature was very cold and that his internal organs were partially frozen.
The coroner’s office said he also suffered burns and thermal burns after his death.
Based on these findings, the pending cause of death for Damri is hypothermia – although some tests still need to be completed and may take three to four weeks. The manner of death was murder, the coroner’s office said.
Damri’s mother, Jenny Perry 38; her brother Jeremiah Perry, 20; and a teenage sibling all facing charges for his death. Damri’s mother and brother have been arrested before, but this is certainly more serious.
Before police could find Damari’s body in Gary, his family had claimed he had gone missing after his sister brought him to a party in Skokie – more than an hour away.
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But prosecutors said the story about the party at Skokie was not true, and Damri’s body was dumped while his family tried to hide the murder—only to be tortured by a family member.
Records from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services show that Damari, from northern Chicago, was born in the Illinois foster care system. That’s because his mother, Jenny Perry, lost custody of her five other children in 2014 following the DCFS domestic violence investigation.
Damri was taken into the care of the state at birth in 2015. But two years later in 2017, the court ordered Damri and all her siblings to go back to their mother’s care.
Records show that DCFS had launched two investigations into the Perry family prior to the boy’s death. Last year, the system opened an abuse and neglect investigation, where DCFS looked into whether Damri’s mother had written a threatening message to harm her.
At the time, DCFS concluded that the threat was “unfounded”.
Then on December 29, prosecutors said someone was mad at the child and threw him in cold water as a punishment. The bone-cooling water was cut only after the damari vomited before not responding.
Despite having many family members in the house, no one called for help and Damri died. It is not clear how long he suffered that day.
The mother, Damari’s brother Jeremiah, and a third teenage brother are accused of helping Gary dump the boy’s body – then lying to police about how he disappeared at a party in Skokie.
Damri’s mother now has seven children aged between 4 and 20. Young children are likely to be returned to the care of the state as they sit in prison.
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Jenny Perry has yet to appear before a judge, as she remained in the hospital until Tuesday night.