Father of Semaj Crosby, toddler found dead under couch, speaks out

JOLIET TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WLS) -- The father of Semaj Crosby said he is fighting for justice for his daughter Tuesday, months after the toddler was found dead.

James Crosby called on authorities to step up their investigation while demanding reform of the Department of Children and Family Services, the system he said failed his daughter.

Crosby was in jail at the time of his daughter's disappearance and death. He spoke about Semaj while attending a community forum at the St. John Baptist Church in Joliet hosted by local groups SAFE and Will County Progressives.

"Someone knows what happened," said Crosby.

Crosby is in a drug program trying to better his life. He has been fighting for custody of Semaj's 8-year-old brother, who is in DCFS custody.

Semaj went missing the same day the agency visited the home. Her body was found under the couch, and the Will County Coroner ruled her death a homicide.

The new director of DCFS, Beverly "BJ" Walker, was also at the forum. She answered questions about her agency, which came under fire after the toddler's death. DCFS had been investigating allegations of abuse in the home for two years.

"In Semaj's case I think we would struggle to find somebody to fire, but I think we could, we're not struggling to find a way to hold ourselves more accountable for what we should have done," said Walker.

Walker said she has already made policy and procedural changes and is working to revamp how DCFS keeps track of its most at-risk families.

Investigators have named several persons of interest, including Crosby's mother, sister and ex-girlfriend. No charges have been filed.

"I'm going to fight for her, no matter what," said Crosby.
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