County Condemns House Where Toddler Was Found Dead (Photos)

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The Illinois home in which a toddler was recently found dead has been declared uninhabitable and has been condemned by county authorities, official records show.

"The entire structure appeared unsanitary," Tawonna Reed, inspector for Will County's land use department, wrote in her report, according to the Chicago Tribune. She added that the home "contains a serious degree of filth."

"The kitchen area of the home had several piles; on the stove was stacked food in foil pans and there was pizza boxes stacked on the table," Reed continued. "The bedrooms had a large amount of clothing, garbage bags, discarded food containers, empty bottles in the middle of the floor and throughout the room."

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Will County police echoed Reed's assessment, stating that the house was in "deplorable condition." They added that anywhere from five to 15 people -- described as "squatters" -- lived in the home on and off.

The body of 16-month-old Semaj Crosby was found underneath a couch in the home on April 27, two days after her mother, Sheri Gordon, reported her missing.

Authorities had been searching for the child outside the home until her mother consented to a search of the house.

While Semaj's body did not show visible signs of trauma, police are investigating the incident as a "suspicious death."

An autopsy was inconclusive, with the Will County coroner's office stating that determination of the cause of death is "pending further studies," according to WGN.

Nobody has been allowed to live in the house since April 28. The Chicago Tribune reports that the family was given 21 days to take corrective action.

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The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has confirmed that it was investigating Semaj's mother for neglect in the days leading up to the toddler's death. A caseworker had been at the home on April 25 -- just hours before the child when missing -- but reportedly saw "no obvious hazards or safety concerns at the time."

Semaj's family told police she went missing while playing outside. As a result, a warrant to search the home was not granted.

Two days later, a family attorney gave the FBI consent to search the house. The toddler's body was discovered underneath a couch, which has since been taken in as evidence.

Gordon spoke of her daughter's death in an interview with WBBM.

"She was my baby. She was my little girl," she said. "She was a good baby. She liked to play and laugh. Always playing and always laughing."

Police have not ruled anyone out as a suspect in Semaj's death.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, WGN (2), WBBM / Photo credit: geralt/Pixabay, Will County Land Use Department via WGN

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