Mom kills 4-year-old son as grandmother was trying to get custody, police say


A 27-year-old woman is accused of killing her 4-year-old son as the child’s grandma tried to get custody of him in Washington, police said. Janet Garcia was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and assault of a child on March 29, the Everett Police Department said in a Facebook post. Her bail was set at $5 million, KIRO-TV reported. The child, Ariel Garcia, vanished from an apartment March 27, McClatchy News previously reported from police. His body was found along Interstate 5 in Pierce County the following day, police said. Janet Garcia had been staying at her friend’s apartment with her son, police said in a probable cause statement.


Grandmother finds blood

The grandmother came to the apartment to serve temporary custody papers to Janet Garcia when she discovered “a large amount of blood on the floor,” police said in the documents. She didn’t see her daughter or grandson, so she called police, authorities said. Janet Garcia had previously told the grandmother she had put the child up for adoption and checked herself into a rehab facility, police reported in the documents. Clark County deputies found the mother at a rehab in Ridgefield, police said.

She told authorities her son had hit his head after falling off a bed, police said. She then said she took him to a hospital, but left because the wait was too long, then later asked a friend to take him there, police said.


Cell phone data used to track Janet Garcia

Investigators said they noticed droplets of blood on her shoes and shirt as they interviewed her. Meanwhile, FBI agents tracked her movements through cell phone data and surveillance footage, police said. She was recorded driving south down I-5 to Pierce County, then back north, police said. The boy’s body was found along I-5 in Pierce County, police said. The child had “at least 41 defects ... stemming from sharp-force injuries,” including defensive wounds on his “arm or hand,” police said.