The cause of Sema’j’s death was classified as asphyxia, or suffocation, after the coroner’s office considered the
circumstances of her death, review of available Department of Children and Family Services reports, a police investigation,
scene photographs and autopsy examination with ancillary radiologic, microscopic and toxicological studies.
Sema’j’s death is considered a homicide by the coroner’s office based “on the unusual circumstances surrounding her
disappearance and the subsequent discovery of her decomposing body under the couch in her home.” Those unusual
circumstances also include the “suspicious fire” that burned down Sema’j’s home and lack of cooperation from witnesses in
the child’s death.