"She was trying to get her life together. She had finally found a place after being in between housing for a long time," said Chanda Meeks, the victim's sister.
She said Jackson wasn't answering her phone and that's when the landlord made the heartbreaking discovery. She said Jackson was dead in the home, believed to have been dead since the day before, and her toddler was roaming around the house alone.
"When we saw him, his eyes were red and I think he was just, he wasn't really talking or anything because he was probably hoarse from crying," she said.
Meeks said she was caring for her sister's other three children while Catherine was in between housing. She said she is heartbroken the state took them from her after her sister's death and gave them to their biological father.
"I understand that's the law but I understand we've got to look out for the best interest of these kids. They are grieving right now and really need to be with their family for support," she said.
If you have information call Illinois State Police, East St. Louis Police, or St. Louis Regional CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS.