Latest: Senate panel questions Illinois child welfare chief


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on the death of a northern Illinois toddler whose body was found in a filthy home (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Illinois’ child welfare chief has answered questions from lawmakers about his agency’s response to the death of a 16-month-old girl found in a filthy home.

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services director George Sheldon told an Illinois Senate committee Wednesday that investigators don’t remove children from homes just because the residences are dirty. Semaj (sa-MAH’-jay) Crosby was reported missing in Joliet Township before she was found dead under a couch April 26. Police described the home’s conditions as “deplorable.”

Police have said the girl disappeared shortly after Department and Children and Family Services officials investigated a neglect allegation. Authorities, including a county judge, have questioned why the agency missed signs of trouble.

Sheldon promised to release records if his agency’s investigation shows the girl died at the hands of a caregiver.

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11:10 a.m.

A judge says child care workers missed obvious signs of trouble at a filthy, bedbug- and roach-infested house in northern Illinois where the body of a 1-year-old girl was later discovered.

Will County Circuit Judge Paula Gomora demanded to know why Department of Children and Family Services caseworkers didn’t act when they visited the trash-strewn home in Joliet where Semaj (sa-MAH-jay) Crosby and her three older brothers lived with their mother and a collection of squatters.

Gomora was speaking Tuesday during a hearing to determine where to place the girl’s brothers.

Agency spokeswoman Veronica Resa declined to comment to The Associated Press Wednesday.

Semaj’s body was found last week. Authorities have not said how she died.

Joliet is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.