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Jett Held on $3M Bond in East Peoria Boy's Murder Case

Tazewell County Courthouse
Tim Shelley / WCBU
Tazewell County Courthouse

An East Peoria woman faces four felony charges in connection with the death of four-year-old Tate Thurman. 

Lesli Jett, 33, was formally charged in Tazewell County Court on Friday with three counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated battery to a child.

Bond was set at $3 million. 

Prosecutors said paramedics were called to 109 Jefferson Court just after 9 a.m. on Feb. 18 on a report of a child in cardiac arrest. Paramedics called police when they noticed "numerous external injuries" on Tate's body.

Jett claimed he slipped on water, fell on the floor, and immediately went unresponsive. But doctors at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center said he suffered "high-velocity blunt force abdominal trauma" which caused severe injuries, including internal bleeding, torn intestines, and a pancreatic hematoma. 

Doctors also said Thurman had bruises and scrapes all over his body, and a fractured collarbone.  When asked to explain Thurman's injuries, Jett still blamed them on a slip and fall. Doctors said that couldn't explain the severity and number of injuries. Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said the injuries were consistent with abuse. 

Thurman never regained consciousness, and died on Feb. 20. 

Thurman's father was working in Urbana at the time of the incident. Jett was the only adult home with the child in the hours leading up to the emergency call.

A sleeping two-year-old child was also in the house at the time of the incident. Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz said other children in the home have since been removed for their safety. 

Jett is due to appear in court again on March 19. 

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.