There were a few stories about what had happened to the little girl, authorities say.
She was living with a relative.
She died after suffering from medical issues.
She drowned in a bathtub.
Then, in October, authorities in Washington state received a call, prompting an investigation into what might have befallen the child, who had not been reported deceased, the Seattle Times reported.
The latest development in the case occurred when authorities were conducting a search and recovered a plastic tote that had reportedly been filled with concrete. Also inside the bin that was discovered in Everett: A girl’s remains, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
“We have every reason to believe the recovered remains of the juvenile female are that of the deceased girl,” Shari Ireton, a spokeswoman for Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, said in an email.
But, she noted, authorities are awaiting official confirmation of the identification from the medical examiner.
Investigators are also working to determine a cause and manner of her death, according to the news release, which states that the remains belong to a girl who was about 4.
The plastic tote was found during a search at a mobile home, according to reports.
No one had been arrested in connection with the discovery by Thursday afternoon, Ireton said.
A search warrant affidavit filed in Snohomish County District Court details how the investigation developed after a relative reached out to authorities.
That woman told police that the girl, who was identified as T.K. in the documents, died “under unclear circumstances” while in the tub and under the supervision of her mother and stepfather.
The couple, who the woman said had a history with law enforcement, “panicked,” according to the affidavit, and hid the child’s body in a cooler, into which they then poured concrete when the remains began to smell.
Two other women later spoke with authorities and gave more details about T.K.’s disappearance. One of the women said that the girl had been missing for about four years.
“She had heard various stories of why this child is missing and she does not think the outcome will be a good one,” the search warrant affidavit says.
The women gave a location where they believed T.K.’s remains were stored, according to the documents. One told authorities that she once went to the address and noticed that the girl was missing. The child’s mother told the woman that T.K. had gone to live with her grandmother.
“During that summer there was a stinking smell of something rotting that permeated the apartment,” the affidavit says. “[The girl’s mother] blamed this smell on the neighbors who often fished. Another excuse for the smell, offered by [the girl’s mother] was a dead animal.”
Another woman told investigators that at one point, the girl’s mother stopped by her apartment and said she had lost her job because she had to get up in the middle of the night to identify the body of her daughter. The mother told the woman that T.K. had apparently died from complications of chickenpox and a brain tumor, according to the documents.
There were other stories about what happened to the girl, the documents show. At one point, T.K.’s mother claimed that the girl had died in a tub. There were multiple versions of that story, including one in which another child killed T.K., who drowned.
The search warrant affidavit notes that the “last solid evidence” of T.K. being alive was in September 2010, when she received an immunization. The detective who wrote it states that he believes “T.K. is indeed, deceased.”
“My training and experience has taught me that the fact pattern shown in this case is consistent with a child who has died – albeit at the time, from unknown circumstances,” it reads.
If T.K. were alive today, she would be about 9 1/2 years old, according to the affidavit.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Sarah Larimer