Police: Teenage girls likely died several days before father

A father may have lived for up to five days after his two teenage daughters died in his apartment, authorities in western Washington said.

Renton police confirmed to FOX 13 News that the preliminary report from the medical examiner shows that 16-year-old Mariel Gill and 17-year-old Adriana Gill died around Dec. 5. Their bodies were found wrapped in blankets on the first floor.

Police said 33-year-old Manuel Gill died around Dec. 10. His body was found in an upstairs bedroom. Their bodies were found on Dec. 11.

An autopsy failed to determine a reason for the deaths, and toxicology results are not expected to be completed for weeks.

The girls’ mother, Betsy Alvarado lives in Everett. She had legal custody of her daughters, with Gill allowed court ordered visits on weekends. However, Adrianna and Gill had worked together to co-parent – but during the pandemic she noticed changes in the girls, she said her daughters became extremely religious and refused to see her.

"I cried so many nights trying to convince them to come back, but they felt like if they lived with me, they would burn in Hell because they wouldn’t be able to follow God’s word the way they’re supposed to," she said.

Alvarado said she reached out to Child Protective Services with concerns about her daughter’s school attendance and their change in behavior, though she said she never heard back from them.

FOX 13 has reached out to Washington’s Department of Children, Youth, and Family Services – but have yet to receive a response.

Alvarado said the girls were found nearly 50 pounds below their normal weights.  

Police have not said how much the girls; weighed but confirmed they appeared to be emaciated and appeared very thin. They hope toxicology reports shed more light on the girls’ deaths, as well as, electronic information stored in their cellphones that they hope to obtain in the future.

Alvarado believes the girls were starved, and that it was related to extreme fasting due to their father’s religion. She believes he was following the Black Hebrew Israelite movement – a group that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Police say they won’t have a full glimpse into their lives until they can search cellular devices to see whether religion played a role in the girls’ deaths. That includes breaking into the phones digitally to retrieve information.

In the meantime, Alvarado said she’s frustrated with the slow progress in figuring out what has happened to her children.

"I don’t know what happened in that apartment, but I know he starved by babies," said Alvarado. "My daughters deserve for the truth to come out. We don’t feel like these things are being taken seriously."

Alvarado's family set up a GoFundMe to support her, which you can find here.

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