(CBS) – Will County Sheriff’s deputies encountered little Semaj Crosby on Easter Sunday when they did a well-being check.
The department said on its Facebook page that three deputies went to a Joliet Township residence April 16 after someone made an “abandoned” call to 9-1-1.
“When they arrived at the home they came across some kids outside playing with sticks,” the Facebook post said. “They went inside and spoke to the mom and grandmother and found that everything was fine.”
The deputies noticed the children didn’t have any Easter gifts, the Facebook post dated April 18 said, so they went shopping and returned with candy, toys and Easter baskets. “The deputies DID make memories that day … not with their own kids … but with five very egg-cited kids!”
A picture posted on the social media page shows three sheriff’s officers beaming with five children. The littlest child, a girl with braids and barrettes and a pacifier in her mouth, is Semaj, family members confirm to CBS 2.
On Tuesday, police returned to Joliet Township after Semaj was reported missing. She was last reported being seen in a yard with some other children while adults worked on a car in the driveway.
An extensive search ended late Wednesday. The 1 ½-year-old was discovered dead inside the home during a second sweep by authorities.
“The house was in very deplorable conditions,” Will County Deputy Chief Richard Ackerson said.
He says 5 to 15 people lived there – most of them squatters.
Just hours before Semaj was reported missing, investigators with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services visited the home and reported seeing Semaj and her siblings safe.
DCFS was investigating Semaj’s mother, Sheri Gordon, for an allegation of neglect. Her attorney issued a statement Thursday that said, “Ms. Gordon is extremely distraught over the death of her only daughter. She will continue to support the investigation in this matter to the best of her abilities.”