The body of a child believed to be a missing 11-year-old Florida girl was found in a locked freezer that her mother allegedly left at a relative’s home, authorities said.
Detectives with the Bradenton Police Department said little Janiya Thomas was last seen in August 2014 when state workers investigating a child abuse complaint against her mother, Keishanna Thomas, made contact with the family, WFLA-TV reported.
With the help of a man, Thomas, 31, recently dropped off a locked freezer at her mother and sister’s home, according to reports. The women decided to break into the freezer after they learned that Janiya was missing and discovered the body inside on Sunday, the television station reported.
Janiya’s mother, who has four other children, never told her family where the freezer came from, officials told WFLA-TV.
The medical examiner will determine its identity and the cause of death.
“The child in there is somebody’s child,” Bradenton Police Spokesman Lieutenant James Racky told reporters. “Mother’s silence to me says she’s guilty. She’s not a mother.
“She’s wicked, she’s wrong, she’s criminal. She’s possibly a killer,” Racky said, noting he was disgusted by the situation.
Police said Thomas refused to cooperate with authorities and would not answer any questions Friday about her daughter’s whereabouts. She was arrested for contempt of court and her four other children- ages two, nine, 12 and 15- were taken into state custody, WFLA-TV reported. She was being held at a Manatee County jail.
Investigators believed Thomas was irritated by Janiya’s medical problems, which affected her digestive system, the New York Daily News wrote. The little girl’s father also suffered from that condition, which reportedly killed the man, the Daily News reported.
Police plan to interview the man who helped Thomas drop off the freezer, WFLA wrote.