Suspect charged with murder in shooting death of Joliet mom, 24, whose toddler was in the backseat

Victim’s 2-year-old daughter found uninjured in vehicle where mother was killed

Jermaine Mandley

A 48-year-old man has been arrested on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of a 24-year-old woman found shot to death early Sunday in a vehicle with her 2-year-old daughter unharmed in the backseat, police said.

Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English announced late Tuesday night the arrest of Jermaine Mandley, 48, of Bolingbrook, on three counts of first-degree murder charges in connection with the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Maya Smith.

English told The Herald-News that it is believed Mandley and Smith may have been in a relationship, however, detectives are looking into this.

Joliet Police Chief William Evans said in a statement that he extends his “deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Smith.”

“In my 28 years in law enforcement, this is one of the most heinous acts that I’ve encountered. I’m extremely proud of our detectives who have worked around the clock to bring this coward to justice, Evans said.

Evans said he hopes this quick arrest provides comfort to the family of Smith “during a time of such unspeakable loss.”

“Thank you to our law enforcement partners for their cooperation during this investigation,” Evans said.

At 12:21 a.m. on Sunday, officers responded to a report of a parking complaint in an alley west of the 1200 block of Clement Street, English said.

Smith was found dead by officers from multiple gunshot wounds in the front seat of a vehicle.

A 2-year-old child also was located in the backseat of a vehicle with no apparent physical injuries. English confirmed the child is Smith’s daughter.

The child was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation out of an abundance of caution and then placed in the care of other family members.

An extensive investigation by Joliet police investigators quickly identified Mandley as the suspect in the case, English said.

On Monday, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the first-degree murder charges against Mandley and a $5 million bond was set for him by a Will County judge, English said.

With the help of federal law enforcement partners, Mandley was located near the southeast side of Chicago and taken into custody about 6 p.m. Tuesday, English said.

Detectives took Mandley to the Joliet Police Department for processing and transferred him to the Will County jail.