The body of 11-year-old Florida girl, Janiya Thomas, was found inside a locked freezer on Sunday. Keishanna Thomas, 31, the girl’s mother, is the prime suspect in the murder.
The Florida mom reportedly refused to give Bradenton police investigators any information about the whereabouts of Janiya Thomas before her body was discovered. Keishanna is currently being held at the Manatee County Jail on contempt charges, the New York Daily News reports. The 11-year-old Florida girl’s grandmother and an aunt reportedly broke the lock on the freezer and looked inside after learning that Janiya was missing. After finding the body, they called 911.
“Mother’s silence to me says she’s guilty. She’s not a mother,” Bradenton Police representative Lt. James Racky told the local media on Sunday evening. “She’s wicked, she’s wrong, she’s criminal. She’s possibly a killer. They looked in it [the freezer] saw what they thought was a body, and called us.”
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The last time anyone can confirm seeing the Bradenton girl was in August 2014, according to a WFLA-TV report. She was removed from public school due to a medical condition and began homeschooling in 2013. Last Wednesday, Keishanna Thomas and a male friend took the four-by-five-foot freezer to the home of a relative.
The relative told Florida detectives that the mother did not say where the freezer had come from. Although the body of the girl inside is believed to belong to Janiya, a country medical examiner is currently using DNA, dental records, and fingerprints to confirm identity.
“The child in there is somebody’s child,” Lt. Racky added. “We try to put on a calm face about it, but it disgusts me.
Janiya reportedly suffered from the same digestive condition that killed her father. Police investigators reportedly believe that the Bradenton mom had grown frustrated from dealing with her daughter’s medical condition. Florida Child Protection Services has been investigating the family since September. Thomas’ 12-year-old son had called the police from a local Walmart and claimed there was child abuse going on inside his home.
A judge ordered that all five Thomas’ children be removed from inside the home. Keishanna is a parent to children ages 2, 9, 11, 12, and 15. When only four children were found at the Bradenton residence and the mother reportedly refused to share any details about the location of Janiya, the child was deemed a missing person.
Thomas has now been charged with the aggravated child abuse of her 12-year-old son, the Bradenton Herald reports. Judge Diana Moreland ordered a $75,000 bond on Keishanna Thomas for the child abuse charge. Thomas reportedly said her son was caught shoplifting from the Walmart store where she worked at 5315 Cortez Road West on September 23. When the store’s Loss Prevention officers turned him over to his mother, she allegedly said she was going to take him home and “whoop him.”
Thomas claimed that she was only holding him by his shirt and then “lost her grip,” causing him to run into a dresser and shatter the attached mirror. Keishanna’s live-in boyfriend allegedly told her to settle down, and the 12-year-old boy was taken to his room. Once inside, the boy reportedly climbed out a window and ran to the clubhouse at the apartment complex and told someone that his mother had slapped and punched him throughout the car ride home from Walmart.
The responding Bradenton police officer noted on the original police report that the boy did not exhibit any signs of bruising or other physical marks. He was later removed by CPS “due to the history of the family.” A doctor ultimately determined that the injuries to the boy were consistent with child abuse.
[Images via Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department]