EVERETT, Wash. – Snohomish County sheriff's deputies have recovered the remains of a child whose body was encased in concrete inside a storage tote in a home.
The remains are believed to be that of a 4-year-old girl who died years ago. Relatives told police they believe the girl's mother put the girl's body inside the tote and then filled it with cement to try to conceal the rotting smell.
Police said nobody had seen the young girl for several years. The child’s mother refused to answer questions when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.
People living near where the child’s body was found said they were horrified by the discovery.
“I’m angry. I’m shocked,” said neighbor Erica Castro. “I’m very sad about this, it makes me just want to cry.”
Castro said she watched Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies collect evidence from a home on East Gibson Road last weekend.
Detectives said the child’s mother’s family lives at the house. It’s also where investigators said they found the body of a 4-year-old girl stuffed into a storage tote, surrounded by concrete.
“This child had not been seen for several years,” said Shari Ireton with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators believe the child died years ago in an apartment on Admiralty Way in 2010.
Court documents allege the child’s mother tried to conceal the girl’s whereabouts and that her mother and stepfather repeatedly misled investigators about what happened. The documents allege the girl’s mother made up several stories about the child’s whereabouts, including her initial story that she went to live with her grandmother.
Police were first tipped off by a relative who believed the girl died in a bathtub under her mother and stepfather’s supervision. Court documents said the relative believes the girl was then wrapped in a towel and placed in a storage tote.
“They panicked and that’s why she ended up in the tote in the first place,” said Ireton. “They didn’t want to contact authorities, that’s what our belief is.”
Court records allege the girl’s mother applied for state assistance for the little girl during the years she had been unaccounted for.
People living in the south Everett neighborhood can’t believe the body of a small child had been decomposing, and hiding almost in plain sight for years.
“I don’t know, I’m just stunned,” said Castro. “I don’t think any of the neighbors knew about it.”
Police said the last piece of evidence proving the child ever existed came from a state agency detailing a 2010 immunization record for the girl.
Court documents said Child Protective Services had been unable to locate the young child for several years. The mother’s other children are in state custody, according to deputies.
So far no arrests have been made in the case. Police said they are waiting for the county medical examiner to determine the time and manner of the child’s death to see where the case may lead next.