An 8-year-old girl who died after being found unresponsive in a home in Chicago was reportedly discovered by her mother, hanging in a closet in her bedroom.
The girl's mother, Carmella Evans, told the Chicago Tribune she was alerted by her 7-year-old son and found 8-year-old Cherish Foster hanging from a cloth belt that was tied to a bar in her closet. Evans said she believes her child's death was an accident and "she was playing."
Police could not confirm how the girl was found but said a juvenile girl was discovered unresponsive around 8:30 p.m. in a home on the 9200 block of South LaSalle in the city's Roseland neighborhood. She was transported to Comer Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The girl, who was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office as Cherish Foster, was living in the home with her mother and brother, according to family members. The mother, who is pregnant, had just moved to Chicago from Florida, said the girl's grandfather Todd Evans.
Officials said it was not immediately clear if the girl’s death was a homicide, a suicide or a tragic accident, but Area South detectives are conducting a death investigation.
Todd Evans told NBC Chicago the kids were not yet enrolled in school and were planning a doctor visit to get the shots they needed to enroll.
He added that Cherish Foster was "just like any other 8-year-old" and never had any thoughts of suicide.
A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Family Services said it is investigating the girl's mother for allegations of abuse and neglect. Two children have been placed with a family member under a DCFS monitored safety plan while the investigation is ongoing, the spokesperson said.
The department noted it has not had prior contact with the family. The medical examiner's office said results from an autopsy conducted Thursday afternoon were pending further police investigation.