2 in custody in connection to death of 2-year-old boy on South Side

CHICAGO — Two people of interest were taken into custody in connection to the death of a 2-year-old boy in the Washington Park neighborhood.

The medical examiner’s office identified the child as Ja’hir Gibbons. The medical examiner’s office said he died of multiple injuries stemming from child abuse and deemed his death a homicide.

Ja’hir lived in the 6000 block of South Prairie Avenue. He died Monday evening, during what neighbors described as a chaotic scene.

One neighbor said she heard a lot of commotion both Saturday and Monday evening and called police both times to report it.

“I heard hollering, screaming, crying, then I didn’t hear anything,” the neighbor said. “A little while later, I heard someone coming down the hallway screaming ‘Help! He’s not breathing, he’s not breathing.’ The neighbor tried to give him CPR and called the ambulance, but I guess he didn’t make it. He looked horrible. He was blue faced. It was ridiculous.”

Neighbors said the Department of Child and Family Services was at the building Saturday to investigate a complaint of abuse.

DCFS issued the following statement:

“The death of Jahir Gibbons is an unacceptable loss and all of us at DCFS are deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are conducting a full investigating of this death to understand how and why this occurred. As we move forward, DCFS is deeply committed to working with the new administration to comprehensively review our practices, increase our frontline staff, and better serve our state’s most vulnerable children and families.”

The agency said their previous involvement with Ja'hir's family dates back to 2010 and concerned allegations of abuse and neglect related his siblings.

DCFS said their most recent involvement began in October 2018 and related to an allegation of abuse involving Ja'hir and his mother. DCFS said their services included home visits, individual therapy for the mother, and speech and developmental therapy for Ja'hir. They said the services were ongoing at the time of the child's death.

The most recent DCFS visit occurred on Saturday when the agency contracted by DCFS to provide services, reported the children to be safe.

DCFS said they are putting together a complete timeline of their involvement with the family.

Charges against the two people in custody are pending. The two have not been identified.

 

 

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