Bellwood father starts Go Fund Me campaign in memory of slain daughter

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By Staff reporter

Justin R. Freeman, of Bellwood, has started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to give his 8-month-old daughter a “proper burial”.

“I Justin Freeman was not [involved], but they have charged her mother with a crime so I’m here on my [daughter’s] behalf on gofundme to give my daughter a proper funeral and burial. [Anything] would help and thanks in advance,” reads the page, which is titled, “My daughter Cherish Freeman.”

His daughter, Cherish Freeman, was pronounced dead after Joliet police responded to a 911 call, December 20, of a baby who stopped breathing. Cherish was living at the Bel-Air Motel in Joliet with her mother Shanquilla Shantell Garvey, and two of her four siblings, ages 2 and 3.

Cherish was taken from the motel and rushed by emergency responders to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center, and then air-lifted to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to a police statement. Cherish had suffered two skull fractures, bleeding on her brain, a lacerated liver and a fractured clavicle, said Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Messina, who said some of the injuries appeared to be from earlier incidents.

After being questioned by police, Garvey was arrested and placed in the Will County Adult Detention Center. Garvey appeared in court last week via video broadcast from the Will County jail. She spent most of the hearing crying, and at one point said, “I’m sorry.” The public defender assigned to her case warned G

Shanquilla Shantell Garvey

arvey that she was being recorded and should stop talking. Will County Judge Art Smigielski ordered Garvey held without bond. “This baby was beaten, kicked and thrown against a dresser,” Smigielski said. “No bond.”


Cherish was taken off life support and died at the hospital about 10 p.m. Christmas Eve, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said. Three days later, Garvey was charged with murder. Cherish’s last known address was on Linden Avenue in Bellwood, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Court records show that Freeman, who lives on Linden Avenue, is the father. A post on Justin Freeman’s Facebook page said, “Right now my pain runs deeper then the ocean.”

The goal for Cherish’s GoFundMe page was set at $5,200. As of January 2, $1,178 has been raised in donations. Two of Garvey’s other small children have been taken into emergency protective custody by the Department of Children and Family Services, police have said.

Garvey is scheduled for a curt hearing on Jan. 12.

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