Desperate Search Underway for Toddler Who Vanished While Playing in Yard

Foul play is not believed to be behind the disappearance of a 1 1/2-year-old girl who went missing from a northern IL community, authorities said Wednesday.

Sheri Gordon, the mother of missing toddler Semaj Crosby, is now under investigation for an allegation of neglect, the Department of Child and Family Services confirmed.

Her mother last saw the toddler in the front yard of their home in Joliet Township, a community about 40 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. A cause of death will not be determined until an autopsy is conducted, Ackerson said. At approximately 12 A.M. the body of Semaj Crosby was located within the residence, " said Ackerson.

The girl was last seen Tuesday evening outside her home.

"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", Resa said. No one is in custody.

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The Will County Sheriff's Office "temporarily suspended" its search for a missing toddler in Joliet Township Wednesday night, the sheriff's office said in a news release. Final results will depend on toxicology results and the police investigation.

He says detectives started to talk to the mother but stopped after someone else who lived at the house pounded on a wall and shouted for her to stop talking.

Will County Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson speaks to the media Wednesday during a press conference about the disappearance of 1-year-old Semaj Crosby in Joliet. I'm not surprised - unless somebody just up and took her.

A massive search effort, which included bloodhounds, helicopters and divers was curtailed Wednesday night by inclement weather. They said she disappeared while playing outside near her home, while a relative repaired a vehicle.

Semaj was reported missing late Tuesday.

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