BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) – Bradenton Police say they believe a body discovered in a deep freezer on Sunday night is missing 11-year-old Janiya Thomas. Her mother is in jail for refusing to answer questions about her whereabouts.
Police say the body was found in the garage of a home in the 5000 block of 21st Way East in Bradenton — the home of the grandmother and aunt of missing 11-year-old Janiya Thomas. They tell detectives the girl’s mother, 31-year-old Keishanna Thomas, dropped the freezer off earlier in the week. They decided to break the lock and look inside Sunday night after they learned Janiya was missing and contacted police upon discovering the body.
After securing a search warrant, police plan to turn over the body to the medical examiner’s office Monday to determine the identity of the body and cause of death.
The state was investigating a child abuse complaint against Keishanna Thomas earlier this month when they discovered one of her five children was missing. Detectives say records show state workers last made contact with Janiya in August 2014.
On Friday, Oct. 16, the Bradenton Police Department was contacted by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to assist in the search of Janiya Thomas. The girl has not been seen since August 2014. Janiya’s family lived at the Village at Cortez Apartments, at 4880 51st St W. in Bradenton.
Detectives arrested Keishanna Thomas Friday for contempt of court after she refused to answer questions about Janiya’s whereabouts. Her four other children are now in state custody.
Bradenton Police detectives say Thomas is not cooperating with the investigation. They plan to interview a man on Monday who they believe helped her drop the freezer off at the home last week.