A Michigan family says the death of a 1-year-old girl whose body was found in closet was an accident. WDIV's Paula Tutman reports.
A toddler was found dead inside a closet in her grandmother's home in east Detroit, only hours after she was reported missing.
Detroit police are investigating the death of 17-month-old Zyia Roch-Quelle Alyssa Turner, whose body was found early Saturday in a closet buried under piles of clothes and notebooks.
Zyia’s uncle and one other adult were babysitting her and several other children at the time of her disappearance, according to local reports. Ten to 12 people were living in the home.
“The uncle was taking care of several children and left for a couple minutes to a bedroom and when he returned the girl was gone,” Sgt. Allan Quinn told the Detroit News. “When he asked the other children where she was, none of them knew.”
Ziya’s family reported her missing around 4 p.m. Friday.
The family made flyers to pass around the neighborhood, and police set up search parties, canvassing the area all evening with a K-9 unit and going door-to-door searching for clues.
About 1 a.m. Saturday, a cadaver dog picked up the girl’s scent inside the home and led police to Zyia’s body.
Zyia’s mother, Erica James, 24, told the Detroit Free Press she had no idea how her daughter got stuck in a closet.
“I [have] two closets at home and she never went in,” she said. “She never pulled [anything] down out of the closet, so it’s strange that my baby is in the closet under 20 pounds of clothes.”
Police aren’t saying whether the death was an accident. The family believes the toddler walked into the closet and stuff accidentally fell on top of her.
Police would not comment on media reports of an arrest, saying only, “This is an ongoing investigation and individuals are being questioned by the Detroit Police Department’s homicide investigators.”
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office has completed an autopsy, but they are awaiting results of a toxicology report, which could take up to eight weeks.
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