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DCFS Had Been In Touch With 6-Year-Old Damari Perry's Family Before He Was Killed; His Mother And Siblings Are Now Charged In His Death

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Damari Perry was just 6 years old, and prosecutors said he was punished – forced to take an ice-cold shower by his mother – before his death last week.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, it turns out that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been in touch with Damari's family before.

Damari's mother, Jannie Perry 38; his brother, Jeremiah Perry, 20; and a juvenile sibling are all facing charges in his death. Damari's mother and brother have arrested previously, but this, of course, is far more serious.

As police investigated Monday night, those at DCFS were reviewing the agency's involvement in the North Chicago boy's short life too.

DCFS records show Damari was born into the Illinois foster care system. This is because his mother, Jannie Perry, had lost custody of her five other children in 2014 following a DCFS domestic violence investigation.

Damari was taken into the state's care at birth in 2015. But two years later in 2017, the court ordered Damari and all his siblings to go back into their mother's care.

Over the weekend, police found the little boy's body in Gary, Indiana. His family had claimed he went missing after his sister brought him to a party in Skokie – more than an hour away.

But prosecutors said the story about the party in Skokie was not true, and Damari was actually dumped in Indiana – only after getting tortured by a family member.

Records show DCFS launched two investigations into the Perry family before the boy's death. Last year, the system opened an abuse and neglect investigation, where DCFS looked into whether Damari's mother wrote a threatening message to harm him.

At that point, DCFS concluded the threat was "unfounded."

Then on Dec. 29, prosecutors said someone was mad at the child and put him in a cold shower as a punishment. The bone-chilling water was cut off only after Damari vomited before becoming unresponsive.

Despite several family members in the house, no one called for help – and Damari died.

The mother, Damari's brother Jeremiah, and the third juvenile brother are accused of helping dump the boy's body in Gary – then lying to police about how he disappeared at a party in Skokie.

Damari's mother now has seven children ranging in age from 4 to 20. The younger kids are likely back in the state's care as she sits in jail.

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