- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois officials are working to bury an 11-year-old Waukegan girl who died after police said she was punched in the stomach.

Warren Township Supervisor Suzanne Simpson said she has informal clearance from the Board of Trustees to bury Raashanai Coley at Northshore Garden of Memories, The (Waukegan) News-Sun reported (https://bit.ly/1poHQ4b ).

Simpson said a township attorney is working on securing a donated coffin for Coley. But she also said that Lake County state’s attorney said the girl’s mother, Nicholette R. Lawrence, 32, would have to sign a release to allow for a burial.

Lawrence has been charged with one count of murder and is being held in Lake County Jail on a $5 million bond. Police said Lawrence allegedly admitted to investigators that she punched Coley in the stomach.

An attorney with the Malia & Rinehart law firm was appointed to represent Lawrence. The law firm declined to comment about the case on Monday.

“Apparently, there are no other relatives that can sign a release,” Simpson said. “So it’s going to be quite a laborious and drawn-out process, and I’m just praying that it works out.”

An autopsy also showed Coley was suffering from malnutrition before her death this month.

Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said the girl’s wrists and ribs were protruding due to long-term malnutrition. Rudd also said significant scarring and numerous cigarette burns were found on the girl’s skin.

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Information from: The News Sun, https://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun


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