NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Police said Friday that they're trying to find a couple and five children who left a North Las Vegas home where a 3-year-old girl was found dead and a 4-month-old girl was so badly neglected by her 17-year-old mother that the child was hospitalized in critical condition.
If Kellie Cherie Phillips, 38, and Jondrew Megil Lachaux, a 39-year-old ex-convict, aren't in Nevada, they may be in the Los Angeles or Oakland, California, areas, North Las Vegas police Officer Aaron Patty said.
Patty told reporters that Phillips and Lachaux were sought for questioning, and that no Amber Alert or arrest warrant had been issued.
But he stressed that police were worried about the welfare of the five children — a 9-year-old girl and four boys ranging in age from 1 to 8 years old — who were believed to be with them.
"We have a 4-month-old fighting for life at the hospital," Patty said. "It is imperative for us to locate these children so that we can verify the condition of them."
He said police believe Phillips and Lachaux abandoned the house several weeks or months ago, leaving the 17-year-old girl with the two younger children in a brown stucco two-story tract home with a tile roof on Wood Thrush Place, about 10 miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas.
The 17-year-old was taken into custody Wednesday, after police were alerted by hospital officials to the condition of the 4-month-old. A police SWAT team broke into the house Thursday to find the body of the 3-year-old.
The teen is the mother of the hospitalized child and sister of the dead child, and she is being held as a juvenile on child abuse and neglect allegations, Patty said.
Names were not disclosed.
Patty said the hospitalized girl was severely malnourished.
Patty wouldn't describe conditions inside the home, other injuries to the children, where the 3-year-old's body was found or how she died. He said police removed items from the property, but he declined to specify them.
Investigators believe the child had been dead for several days, and the teen and her baby remained in the house with the corpse until Wednesday, Patty said.