The death of a 20-month-old girl who died of head injuries has been ruled a homicide.
Deneah Cousins, who lived with her mother in Sauk Village, died of blunt force head trauma and suspected child abuse, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, which conducted an autopsy Friday.
Phoenix police, the state's attorney's office and the Department of Children and Family Services are investigating the death.
Deneah was injured Monday at a home in the 700 block of East 155th Court in Phoenix. She died Wednesday night at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.
Phoenix police were unavailable to comment Friday.
Melvin Johnson was with the toddler Monday at his home in Phoenix, police said Thursday.
Johnson dates the toddler's mother and was baby-sitting the girl while her mother was at work, according to Stephanie Simmons, who identified herself as a relative of the toddler.
Johnson is not related to Deneah, said Simmons, 30, who lives in Chicago Heights.
"People are speculating we ... were told she fell," said Simmons, who said she is a cousin of Deneah's father, Marcus Cousins.
DCFS workers on Tuesday removed two foster children from the Phoenix home.
"We have placed these two children in another home only as a precautionary measure," Kendall Marlowe, DCFS spokesman said.
Johnson lives at the Phoenix home with his mother, Sandra Johnson, and her boyfriend, Gary Petty. Sandra Johnson is foster mother to the two children who were removed from the home.
Petty on Thursday incorrectly told the SouthtownStar that Melvin Johnson was Deneah's father. Petty also said he was told Deneah died after she fell from a 4-foot high plastic children's slide, which was located under the carport of the Phoenix home.
Deneah's family is struggling to come to grips with their loss. Most don't know what to think, Simmons said.
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