Updated: Mar 31, 2020
A 911 call came in about a “slip and fall” at 109 Jefferson Court in East Peoria. First responders reported that four year old Tate Thurman was covered in bruises “head to toe” and police were called to the residence. Tate was in full cardiac arrest. Tate was brain dead at the hospital and died two days later. Baby Tate was in the hands of his father’s girlfriend Leslie Jett, when he lost his life.
Coming forth now is the history of DCFS involvement which began with a report investigating his mother in 2011 who later died in 2017. The children that were removed then, returned to the home to live with their father in 2018. Since then, DCFS had no further involvement nor were they required to check on these children.
The father’s girlfriend Leslie has now been charged with three counts of First Degree Murder and an aggravated battery to a child. She was the only adult in the residence at the time. She’s being held on a $3 Million Bond (10% applies).
The coroner reported that Tate suffered blunt force trauma and tears to his intestines and bruises from head to toe. He also said that the story the suspect told was inconsistent with what he found. What Coroner Jamie Harwood found consistent, was abuse.
The coroner report includes that "Deep muscular bruising of the abdominal wall and back, an acute fracture of [Thurman's] right collarbone, and extensive contusions and abrasions to [his] scalp, face, neck, chest, [genital area], buttocks, upper back, shoulder, and limbs, including deep muscular bruising of the scalp, neck, torso."
25 News also reported court documents showing that the baby “had serious abdominal injuries including a large tear in his intestines and a pancreatic hematoma, causing internal bleeding. Doctors concluded that those types of injuries were caused by ‘high-velocity blunt force abdominal trauma.”
At OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, doctors also found extensive bruising and lacerations on multiple parts of Thurman's body, including a fractured clavicle. The document says doctors questioned Thurman's father and Jett after finding these injuries, but both repeated the explanation that the boy slipped on some water and became unresponsive.’
(25 News is reporting closely in Tate’s case. You can check those articles out at www.week.com)
The other children in the home have since been removed from the home again.
VISIBLE BRUISING ON TATE'S FACE
DCFS Timeline as reported by 25 News in Peoria.
Timeline of DCFS Involvement with Tate’s family:
· DCFS' involvement with Tate’s family began in 2011 when the department investigated his mother for an unsafe sleep environment that led to the death of her newborn child.
· DCFS conducted a total of seven investigations involving the household over the next six years. Tate’s mother lost guardianship of her children a number of times during those years.
· Following the death of his mother in 2017, Tate and one of his siblings were returned home by the Tazewell County Court to live with their father, Jeremy Thurman. Following the closing of the case in 2018, DCFS had no further contact or hotline reports involving this family.
· On February 18, 2020, DCFS received a hotline report when Tate was brought into OSF St. Francis Hospital with abdominal injuries and internal bleeding. Following Tate’s death, the girlfriend of his father, Lesli Jett, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery.
· Tate’s older sibling and an unrelated child in the household have been removed from the home and have been placed with relatives.
· DCFS is investigating allegations of abuse and neglect related to Tate’s death and is working closely with law enforcement to fully investigate what happened in this case.
· There is no prior history of DCFS involvement with Leslie Jett or with the other unrelated child removed from the home.
Per court records I found that in 2017 the father of Lesli’s children was awarded custody of the child(ren) and the dissolution of marriage was complete in 2018. The father filed for divorce and for custody.
CASE NUMBER 2020-CF-000151
Jette was charged on three counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Aggravated Battery to a Child on February 18, 2020 the day she allegedly murdered 4 year old Tate Thurman, her boyfriend’s child.
Jury trial is set for April 20, 2020 at 10:00 AM at the Tazewell County Courthouse.