Coroner: Death of Ill. boy in fridge a homicide

PEORIA — A coroner's jury has ruled that the suffocation death of an 8-year-old boy whose body was found in an abandoned refrigerator in central Illinois was a homicide.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that a Peoria County coroner's jury spent more than 30 minutes deliberating Thursday before handing down a ruling in the Aug. 15 death of Marquail (mahr-KWEHL') Johnson.

The boy's naked body was found in a refrigerator in a yard near his Peoria home, hours after he was reported missing. Peoria is 130 miles southwest of Chicago.

Detective Amanda Chalus says investigators still aren't sure how Johnson wound up in the appliance, which latched from the outside. They also don't know how long he was inside.

His clothes were also discovered inside the refrigerator.

An investigation is continuing.