Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Semaj Croby, 17 Months Old
April 25, 2017
Joliet, Will County, Illinois
Semaj Crosby was last seen April 25, 2017 at her residence located at 309 Louis Road in Joliet, Illinois. Just seventeen months old, records have shown that attempts to save her life were many, and all failed.
Her mother Sheri Gordon called the police to report her missing stating that Semaj was playing outside with a group of kids and adult supervision when she noticed her missing. The mother said Semaj was last seen about thirty minutes prior to the 911 phone call.
Witnesses later said that Semaj was seen walking down the street before she disappeared. Yet it was reported to the Tribune a family member said she could barely walk on her own, nevertheless in long lengths. Someone else said that she was last seen inside the house an hour prior to her disappearance.
It would take approximately thirty hours before Semaj was found. The search was heavy on for Semaj with investigators going door to door in the neighborhood, certified dogs and handlers, Emergency Management leading a ground search in the entire area, with eyes in the air in hopes of bringing Semaj home alive and safe. Law enforcement wanted to get back in the house and search, but her mother’s attorney told them they will have to get a search warrant to get in to that house.
Two days later, about midnight, law enforcement came in with a warrant which resulted in locating her lifeless body under a couch inside the residence. The coroner ruled that Semaj died of asphyxiation and ruled her death a homicide. There were no signs of blunt force trauma to Semaj’s body.
Let’s talk about that a little more. That couch was not high enough for any person of any size, including Semaj, to have crawled under that heavy couch on her own. According to my source, that couch had to have been lifted up for Semaj to have been under there for any length of time. The couch had only been about two and a half inches off the ground and weighed about a hundred pounds. Semaj did not get under that couch by herself.
The police have not been shy about publicly stating that five adults that were there that day are suspects. Sheri Gordon, Semaj’s mother is one of them. Semaj’s father was in jail the day his daughter disappeared. Her paternal grandmother Darlene Crosby, Her aunt Lakerisha Crosby and a family friend Tamika Robinson along with an unnamed minor are persons of interest.
Moreover, the Department of Children and Family Services had been at the home hours prior to her disappearance on the same day, investigating Gordon for child neglect. The worker that day reported that there was no immediate threat to Semaj or her two siblings’ safety. Thanks to the Chicago Tribune’s thorough and detailed investigations, they stated “DCFS had been investigating the girl's mother for alleged neglect”, and that their “prior contact with the family included two pending investigations for neglect opened in March and four prior unfounded investigations for neglect.” The Department had been involved with this family since September of 2016.
The Tribune continued reporting”as many as five to fifteen people lived at the home at any given time — some friends or relatives would stay for a while and then move out — referring to them as “squatters.” There were several people living in the home that week, he said.” The Will County Health Department condemned the house two days after the baby’s death. “The Will County Land Use Department declared the home uninhabitable, noting a broken stove. The report also noted the "serious degree of filth" in the home.” This house was under housing authority which has rules that have clearly been broken. The Sun-Times reported that the house was a “864-square-foot home in violation of Gordon’s public housing voucher”. But wouldn’t that be then the assumption that someone in public housing checks on these homes and their residents?
The link is provided here to view the report that was made by DCFS after her death, which describes their entire investigation and participation in to Semaj’s life: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3755632-Crosby.html
Her funeral was just devasting. Hundreds of people came to say goodbye to a baby they never knew, but fell in love with the young child who we knew didn’t deserve this, no matter what really did happen or why.
The house burned down the next day and is confirmed to be arson. No charges have been filed. The Tribune spoke to a young teenage boy who was in shock in Semaj’s death, and saw the residence burn down. He reported to the Tribune that his sister saw a vehicle pull up the night before with four people. Somebody got out and checked around the house. There was literally nothing left in that house – everything burned to the ground.
Gordon had other children other than Semaj, and reportedly has had twins since Semaj lost her life. It said that all children have been removed by DCFS. I don’t actually know if that is temporary or permanent however.
Today there have been no arrests, no closure and no peace for Semaj, her family and those that love her, and all of us standing by for justice.
If you have any information on Semaj's death, please do the right thing and contact the will County Sheriff's Office at (815) 727-8574. Semaj, and those who love her deserve to have peace and some form of answers.