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.
But two days later, just after midnight last Thursday, Semaj's body was found under the couch of her family home.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the family home was in a "deplorable condition" and was often inhabited by squatters.
The cause of Semaj's death is as yet undetermined, with police awaiting further investigations and toxicology reports. Police have called her death suspicious.