11-year-old girl found stuffed in freezer her mom dropped off at girl’s grandmother’s home

Police believe they have found the body of a missing 11-year-old Florida girl in a freezer.

Bradenton, Florida authorities first noticed Janiya Thomas was missing on Friday, when officers with the Manatee County’s Child Protective Investigations unit arrived at 31-year-old Keishanna Thomas’ apartment to take away her five children and found only four of them there.

Thomas refused to say where her daughter was, and was arrested for contempt of court.

Two days later, Janiya’s aunt and grandmother called police to say they believed the girl’s body was hidden in a freezer in their home.

They said that Thomas and a unknown black man had moved the padlocked freezer into their home on Wednesday, but the two women hadn’t looked inside it until they heard that Janiya was missing.

At a news conference late Sunday, Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said they believed the body inside the freezer was Janiya, but that they are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner’s office, which should come Monday.

The medical examiner’s office will also be able to say how long Janiya had been dead. It’s believed that she has been missing since August 2014, but police say they only learned about her disappearance on Friday.

‘I’m really upset that we let this child down,’ Radzilowski said.

He added that he was ‘flabbergasted’ no one questioned Janiya’s whereabouts for more than a year, saying he was angry that ‘a child could just disappear and no one asked nothing’.

Thomas had apparently been under investigation by child protective services, but always had an excuse for why Janiya wasn’t around when authorities checked in on her.

‘Nobody told us until Friday night,’ Bradenton Police Department spokesman Lt. James Racky said.

‘Her mother pulled her out of school because of her medical condition … and said she was home-schooling her in 2013.’

Janiya suffered a digestive condition. ‘She could not always tell when she had to go to the bathroom,’ Racky said. 

‘That’s one of the reasons the mother was frustrated with the child and kept the child in the bathroom at her residence.

‘That medical condition is the same one that killed Janiya’s father.’

Police have not yet named the man who allegedly helped Thomas move the freezer into her mother’s home, but they say they believe they know his name and hope to speak to him soon. They are unsure of his relationship to Thomas.

Thomas’ four other children – a 15-year-old girl, 12-year-old boy, 9-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy – are now in protective custody.

Spokesman Racky says the case has weighed on the department.

‘We try to put on a calm face about it but it disgusts me,’ Racky said. ‘I’ve got children myself. Whoever the child is in that freezer, however they died, it’s just not right, and we need to find out who is responsible and hold them accountable. That child in there is somebody’s child.’

Source: The DailyMail

scroll to top