- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - Foul play is not believed to be behind the disappearance of a 1 1/2-year-old girl who went missing from a northern Illinois community, authorities said Wednesday.

Will County Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Elledge says it is believed the toddler wandered off, and “possibly went into hiding and fell asleep.”

Hundreds of police and volunteers have been searching for Semaj Crosby since her disappearance was reported late Tuesday, said Will County Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson. Her mother last saw the toddler in the front yard of their home in Joliet Township, a community about 40 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.

“It’s such a large area, open fields, woods, trees, retention ponds,” Ackerson said. “We’re doing everything we can to find her.”

A pond was searched in the Sugar Creek subdivision and a Cook County helicopter service is providing air search using infrared and heat capabilities.

The case is considered to be a missing child case and Semaj’s family is fully cooperating with detectives, Ackerman said.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services last month opened two investigations of the mother for allegations of neglect.

Spokeswoman Veronica Resa said DCFS personnel had been at the home shortly before the girl went missing. Resa stated in an email that DCFS has been offering services to the family since September 2016.

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