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Jessica Childers' Fundraiser:

Alexis Smother Fundraiser to pay for funeral of this murderd child

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Jessica Childers


This is a fundraiser for an 8 year old little girl who was found dead in her basement. Her mom is in jail on charges. Please help this family bury this little girl.

Description Five bands will come together for a day of music to help pay expenses for the funeral of a young West Frankfort girl.West Frankfurt, IL (KSDK) - The Franklin County State's Attorney's Office has charged a 28-year-old woman in connection with the death of her eight-year-old daughter.

The child, Alexus Smothers, was found dead in the early morning hours of July 19. Her body was in the basement of a ...home in the 1700 block of E. Oak Street in West Frankfurt. Detectives said the girl died by "homicidal means."

Smothers' mother, Mary Jophlin, is accused of hiding the girl's body in a crawl space area in the basement and reporting the child missing. Jophlin was also accused of lying to investigators about her daughter's whereabouts.

Jophlin was charged with concealment of a homicidal death and obstruction of justice. She remains jailed on a $250,000 bond.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said Jophlin, a mother of three, had her children taken away in 2004 because of abuse and neglect allegations. The children were returned to her care in 2005.

Alexus Smothers, 8, was found dead in the basement of her West Frankfort residence July 19. The cause of her death has not yet been revealed but her mother, Mary Zumwalt-Jophlin, remains in jail on charges of concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice.

Musician John Austin lives near the Jophlin home and saw the emergency response at the residence the day the girl's body was discovered.

"I saw all the police cars, the ambulance and the coroner's van and all the people were walking really slow. I knew something bad had happened," he said. "When I found out about her death, it brought tears streaming down my face. I'm a parent. It was too much to contemplate."

He wanted to help the family anyway he could so he decided to organize the benefit to help pay for the child's funeral expenses.

"I've never done anything like this before, but if ever there was a right time to do it, this is it. I felt compelled," he said. "We set a modest goal of $1,000, but hope to raise enough to pay off the bill."

He contacted other musicians, who were eager to help, he said.

Businesses and individuals also offered help and items for a live auction.

"There has been a lot of support in the community. It's a group effort," he said.

Five bands, including The Accused, ObliViouS, Triple Shott, Magnificent Bastard and Strikeforce, will play at the benefit that runs from noon until midnight, Saturday, Aug. 13 at Bootleggers in West Frank-fort. The live auction will begin about 4 p.m.

Barbeque sandwiches, chips, baked beans and cole slaw will be served at $5 a plate. There is no admission to the event; attendees are asked to give whatever they can.

Sponsors include Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, Koerner Distributor, Kroger, Simple Solutions, Tom's Mad Pricer and Weeks Chevrolet GMC Buick.

All proceeds will go to the Union Funeral Home Fund for Alexus Smothers. To donate items for the auction or to the cause, contact Austin at 618-579-4263.

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