On Monday (Oct. 19), police said that the body of an 11-year-old Bradenton
girl was found in a freezer at the home of family members.
Though the girl had been missing for more than a year, authorities say
that no one reported her missing, nor did anyone question the girl’s
Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said that he’s really
upset that they let this child down, speaking of J. Thomas.
The victim’s grandmother and aunt told the authorities that J. Thomas’
mother, K. Thomas, 31, and a male friend brought a padlocked freezer to
their residence on Wednesday, leaving it there. However, the two women
didn’t know that there was a body inside the freezer.
On Friday, officers from child protective services came to Thomas’
Bradenton apartment to remove her five children. During this time, Florida’s
Department of Children and Families had an open investigation on the children’s mother.
When the officers showed up at Thomas’ home, they found only four
children. When asked about the missing girl’s whereabouts, Thomas
refused to provide any information, so a judge on the case ordered Thomas
on contempt of court charges.
Radzilowski said that the Bradenton police weren’t aware that J.
Thomas was missing until the state’s visit to the home on Friday.
Depending on who you talk to, this child has been missing for one to two
years, said Radzilowski. No one said anything about the missing girl.
Not her family, not neighbors, or school officials, he said.
When the grandmother and aunt learned that police were looking for the
child, the pair decided to open the padlocked freezer sitting in their
garage. That’s when they found the girl’s body.
The medical examiner’s office will be determining the official cause of death.
According to DCF, Thomas’ other four children, ages 15, 12, 9, and
2 have been taken into custody.
Police spokesman Lt. James Racky told reporters Sunday night that Thomas
pulled the girl out of school due to a medical condition and she said
that she was homeschooling her.
Racky told the
Bradenton Herald that the medical condition affected the girl’s digestion and bowel
movements. The condition supposedly killed the girl’s father, leaving
the mother frustrated.
A Manatee County task forces is conducting a homicide investigation; Radzilowski
says that the department is going to investigate the case from the beginning
to the end to determine when the girl went missing and if anyone should
have reported it.
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