Peoria Police Investigating Suspicious Death of 8-Year-Old Boy

Peoria Police Investigating Suspicious Death of 8-Year-Old Boy

PEORIA - Peoria police say they found 8-year old Marquail Johnson around 8:00AM Thursday morning in the area where he went missing Wednesday evening. Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says the boy's body was found inside a refrigerator in the backyard of a home on Western.
PEORIA – Peoria Police are investigating what they call a suspicious death of an eight-year-old boy. Police recovered the body of Marquail Johnson around 8:00 AM, after the boy was reported missing on Wednesday night.

Marquail’s cousin Nikki Green said, “Marquail… he is the sweetest kid.”

The eight year old boy should be getting ready to enter second grade at Trewyn school. Instead, he’s the center of a suspicious death investigation.

Peoria Police Department Chief Settingsgaard said, “We're going to investigate it as seriously as we would a homicide.”

Marquail was first reported missing to police Wednesday evening around 10 P.M.

His family said he had dinner then went outside to play. Police issued a limited Amber Alert and a Code Red Alert. They had high hopes of finding the boy alive and well. Chief Settingsgaard said, “I saw the officer's face who found him in the refrigerator and you could tell he's not going to sleep well tonight you just, you see the pain."

After searching through the night, police discovered Marquail’s body in the refrigerator in the backyard of a home at 740 Western Avenue.

Settingsgaard said, “It's an old style refrigerator that it appears from the outside to have the type of locking handle that doesn't release from the inside.”

Green said she’s shocked. “His cousin stays in that house. They were out looking too.”

For her, the details aren’t adding up. “Where they found him at, he doesn't play with old appliances. He doesn’t even play with new appliances. He plays with stuff like cars and crates and sticks, stuff little boys play with.”

A family’s world is shattered after this tragic loss. Green said, “It’s too shocking for this family. Me and that little boy were just talking about what we were going to do this weekend.”

Police said they’re working to give them answers. Settingsgaard said, “We're going to be investigating this all day trying to determine who everybody saw last night. Perhaps he was playing with other children. Is it possible he went in the fridge to hide? Or is possible someone placed him in there? We just don't know."

Another important thing to note: in the missing person’s report, Police said that Marquail may have last been seen with an older white male. They said that tip came from a friend of Marquail’s and it’s something police continue to follow.

They said they are following all leads in hopes of figuring out what really happened to this little boy.
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