Toddler who family said wandered off found dead in home

Semaj Crosby

Will County Sheriff's Office via CBS Chicago

CHICAGO — The search for a missing Illinois toddler came to a tragic end overnight, when her body was found inside a Joliet Township home, reports CBS Chicago.

According to the station, 16-month-old Semaj Crosby was reported missing on Tuesday evening, about three hours after staff from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services visited her home on an allegation of neglect.

Semaj's family reportedly said they were working on a car outside their home and Semaj was playing with other children in the yard, but wandered off. Police and volunteers launched an extensive search for the girl, but suspended the search late Wednesday due to the rain.

According to the Will County Sheriff's Office, around 11 p.m. on Wednesday the sheriff's office and FBI obtained permission to enter the family's home, with the help of an attorney the family obtained, and found Semaj's body inside.

The little girl was pronounced dead, and an autopsy was scheduled for later Thursday to determine how she died. Officials say they're investigating the case as a suspicious death.

In an email to CBS Chicago, a DCFS spokesperson said they had seen Semaj and her mother's two other children the day she was reported missing and "there were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time."

 "We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation for neglect opened in March 2017," DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in the email. "DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016."