A man from Bolingbrook has been charged with the murder of a young mother who was discovered in her car; her 2-year-old daughter was unharmed in the backseat.

A Bolingbrook man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a young mother found shot to death in her car in Joliet, with her unharmed daughter in the backseat.

Maya Smith, 24, passed away early Sunday morning. She was discovered in her vehicle, shot multiple times, in an alley near the 1200-block of Clement Street shortly after midnight, according to police.

Smith’s 2-year-old daughter was discovered unharmed in the backseat. According to ABC7 Chicago, the child is being cared for by family.

Jermaine Mandley, 48, was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder, according to Joliet police. His bond was set at $5 million by a Will County judge.

Mandley was apprehended on the southeast side of Chicago around 6 p.m. Tuesday. He is being held in the Adult Detention Facility of Will County.

Smith was described by her friends and family as a vibrant person, kind and generous, and a loving mother who was a rock to the people in her life.

“She never failed to come through for me… For me, it was the loss of a sister. Maya was like a sister to me more than anything else “Tasia Waters, a close friend, stated.

“She was extremely picky about who could care for her daughter. That was something I adored about her. It was as if she was always concerned with keeping her safe,” Waters stated. “She was an honest person. She was very sweet. So sweet. “

Waters stated that Smith worked at a bank but was returning to school to take business courses in the hopes of one day starting her own business.

“She wanted to own her own business,” Waters explained. “She was going to be successful any kind of way she could.”

Waters stated that she intended to work food delivery that night, which could explain why she was in her car.

According to a statement issued by the Joliet police chief, “This is one of the most heinous acts I’ve seen in my 28 years of law enforcement. I am extremely proud of our detectives, who have worked tirelessly to bring this coward to justice. I hope that this quick arrest brings some solace to Ms. Smith’s family during this difficult time.”

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