Peoria Public Radio News
12:45 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Peoria child found dead in a refrigerator

Marquell Jackson, 8 found deceased in old refrigerator.
Marquell Jackson, 8 found deceased in old refrigerator.
  The 8-year-old Peoria boy who went missing last night was found this morning in a refrigerator behind his aunt’s house on Western Avenue, two doors away from home. 

Police issued an alert for Marquaill Johnson this morning. They called it a possible abduction of a child with autism. 

Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says a resident of the home at 740 Western and a couple of officers looking for Johnson opened the refrigerator and found the missing child at about 8:00 a.m..

Settingsgaard says it’s a 60’s-type appliance with a large latch handle. “Back in the day a lot of children were dying that way. They were hiding in refrigerators. They were crawling in and playing and you can’t get out. And you know, they changed the style of refrigerator obviously so that couldn’t happen any more,” Settingsgaard says. “But communities across the country passed laws and ordinances that said if such a refrigerator is sitting out the door has to be removed or the latch has to be removed so this isn’t possible.”

Peoria has such an ordinance. 

Settingsgaard says officers saw no obvious signs of trauma to the child’s body, but they are pursuing all possible scenarios. 

The chief says a roughly 6-year-old child playing with Johnson last night said a white man with a gray beard took him away by the arm. 

Johnson was an only child. Family members say he had dinner at home with his mom and dad around 7:00p.m. last night and then went out to play.