'Shining Star' Ind. Girl, 2, Was Killed While Sitting in Car Next to Mom — and Suspect Is Sought

Police are searcing for the killer of Joette "Jo Jo" Malone

JoJo Malone
Photo: FBI; hammond indiana police department

Police in Hammond, Indiana, have released a sketch of a person of interest who is wanted for questioning in the July 2020 death of 2-year-old Joette "Jo Jo" Malone.

The toddler was struck by gunfire while seated in her mother's car, which was parked outside an apartment complex.

The killing occurred at about 9:30 p.m. back on July 29, 2020. The girl's mother was unharmed, as were two of her siblings.

Jo Jo, who lived in Gary with her family, was flown to a Chicago children's hospital, "where she later died from the injuries sustained in the shooting," according to a Hammond Police press release.

The individual they are looking to speak with is described as a Black man, about 18- to 25-years-old, with a thin build. He is said to be of medium height.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with authorities in Hammond, and offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

"The Hammond Police Department asks that everyone please spread this information to anyone you can, and come forward if you know anything that may be valuable to this investigation so that we may bring justice to those involved and assist in bringing peace to Jo Jo's family," reads the press statement.

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During a press conference on Jo Jo's killing back in August, her mother said the little girl was "like a shining star." She was talkative and loved playing at the local park.

Anyone with information concerning this homicide is asked to contact the Hammond Police Detective Bureau at (219) 852-2906 or the FBI's Indianapolis Field Office at (317) 595-4000. Tips can also be left via tips.fbi.gov.

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