By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida police believe they have found the body of a missing 11-year-old girl inside a freezer that her mother allegedly moved last week from her home to the garage of the child's grandmother.
Janiya Thomas was last seen by state child protective workers in August 2014, Bradenton police spokesman Lieutenant James Racky said Monday.
Her mother, Keishanna Thomas, was jailed Friday on a contempt of court charge for refusing to produce her daughter, or tell a judge whether the girl was alive, Racky said.
"We definitely want to talk to the mother about who that might be in the freezer," said Racky, who described Keishanna Thomas as the prime suspect in the possible killing of the child.
The identity of the deceased child is pending a medical examiner investigation, Racky said.
Racky said police had overnight determined the identity of a man, who on Wednesday helped Keishanna move the freezer from her apartment to the grandmother’s house, and hope he will be able to identify the body and the reason for moving the freezer.
When Janiya’s grandmother and aunt heard a news report that the girl was missing, they broke open the locked freezer to find the body inside, Racky said.
The case began Sept. 23, when another of Keishanna’s children, a 12-year-old boy, reported that his mother was abusing him, Racky said.
Child protective workers removed four of her children aged between two and 15 years old from the home, and realized from previous work with the family that Janiya was missing.
Keishanna was subpoenaed to go to court to answer questions about the whereabouts of her daughter, Racky said.
Janiya suffered from a digestive disorder that involved uncontrollable bowel movements, and her mother kept her in a bathroom, Racky said.
(Editing by David Adams and Bernadette Baum)