At 6:30 pm last Tuesday, 16-month-old Semaj Crosby was reported missing by her family.
Just hours before she went missing, Semaj had been seen by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, who were investigating her mother for neglect, but found no threat to the little girl’s safety.
She had been playing with her two siblings, and when she was reported missing, authorities hoped she had simply wandered off and would be found safe within hours.
Police and local volunteers rushed to help, launching a search of the town in the Joliet Township near Chicago.
They spent a day and a half searching for the little girl, going door to door and using bloodhounds to track her scent. More than 80 emergency personnel from the sheriff's office helped in the search, and a helicopter conducted an infrared air search of the area.