Jennifer Keim was arrested on March 22 and charged with first degree homicide over the loss of life of her son again in November.
MOLINE, Ailing. — Heather Perez says her friendship with Jennifer Keim stretches again almost 20 years – again to when the ladies have been 16 years previous.
“We met by way of mutual buddies and we immediately turned household,” Perez remembers. Her kids name Keim their aunt, and Perez says she’s recognized Keim’s kids for his or her entire lives.
As she places it, she is aware of Keim’s soul and character higher than almost anyone.
Now, Perez is utilizing that love for her pal to defend her, after Keim was arrested on Monday, March 22, and charged with homicide.
Her 15-year-old son – often known as “J.J.” to family and friends – had extreme cerebral palsy. J.J. had been rushed to the emergency room on November 3, 2020, the place he was discovered to be “extraordinarily dehydrated, emaciated and had extreme open wounds that had not been correctly handled,” in line with a press release from the Moline Police Division. Police say on the time, J.J. weighed simply 38 kilos. He ultimately died on the hospital.
Now, State’s Lawyer Dora Villarreal is prosecuting Keim on first diploma homicide fees, alleging she knowingly withheld correct hydration, diet and medical care.
However Perez says that is not the pal, or the mom that she knew Keim to be.
“I do know Jennifer. I could not know the times main as much as [J.J.’s] loss of life, however I do know she would by no means intend to hurt anyone, not to mention her little one,” she mentioned. “That is anyone who would lay her life on the road for her little one.”
Due to his incapacity, Perez says J.J. was at all times skinny, however recognized for his smile and laughter. Caring for him was a full-time job, however one which she says Keim by no means shied away from.
“She may decide up her entire little one and provides him baths and do the whole lot she wanted to do. That does not sound like a dad or mum of neglect, as a result of she did all that,” she mentioned. “She would go all over the place with him. She must decide him as much as put him in his chair, put him within the automobile, transport him wherever after which need to take him again out once more. However she by no means one – by no means as soon as did I hear her complain about it. Not as soon as.”
Perez remembers numerous gatherings and barbeques the place Keim would return inside to test on her son, sit with him, or get his medication.
In keeping with Perez, she would have seen if J.J. had bruising or indicators of abuse on him. She recollects attending a celebration for J.J.’s older brother, again in September, 2020, and mentioned J.J. did not look emaciated or sad.
“He didn’t appear to be he was underweight. However see I’ve seen him his entire life wanting somewhat thinner due to his lack of ability to maneuver, his feeding tubes,” she mentioned. “He’s at all times had issues digesting meals his entire life.”
Now, she says the ache of dropping J.J. has been compounded by the jailing of her pal. When police arrested Keim, Perez says she was in full shock.
“I used to be like what the hell! Like are you severe? I used to be shocked. Utterly shocked” she mentioned.
Perez is anxious for her pal, saying Keim was closely already grieving her son earlier than, and is now separated from her assist system whereas she’s in jail.
“She was a great mother. She is a great mother. Having J.J. introduced gentle into her. It introduced it out,” cried Perez. “This isn’t a mother that may deliberately do something to harm anyone, not to mention her blood – her little one. I simply do not see it.”
Keim is awaiting her subsequent court docket look – set for April 6 – within the Rock Island County Jail on a $2 million bail.
J.J.’s stepfather, 32-year-old Justin Keim, was arrested on felony abuse or neglect of a disabled particular person on Tuesday, March 23. He is ready within the Rock Island County Jail on a $500,000 bail.