An adoptive mother has been charged with murdering her 9-year-old quadriplegic daughter, prosecutors in Michigan said Friday.
Lorrie Thomas was charged with second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of Shylea Myza Thomas, said John Potbury, an assistant prosecutor with the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office in Flint, Michigan. Thomas is also charged with tampering with evidence. Thomas, who is the girl’s biological aunt, made no immediate public statement. Police found the girl’s body this week, stuffed inside a garbage bag in a public storage facility in Vienna Township, near Flint, said Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton. The bag was covered in mothballs “in an apparent attempt to mask odors from the dead body,” Leyton’s office said in a news release. “This is a very sad and tragic case that hurts all of us involved in the ongoing investigation,” Leyton said. Shylea had not been seen in six weeks, but relatives did not report her missing until Tuesday, Leyton’s office said.
WJRT: Charges considered in disabled girl’s death
Quadriplegic girl found dead in storage facility
Thomas had been taken into custody earlier this week and held as a suspect. Because of her physical disabilities, Shylea had to use a feeding tube. She suffered from quadriplegia because of a “suffocation issue” in her crib at 3 weeks of age, Leyton said. Leyton said Shylea and other relatives had lived in “absolutely filthy” conditions.
Relatives told CNN affiliate WJRT that they remember Shylea as a happy child who loved music and had an infectious smile. “The last memory I actually have of Shylea is seeing her when she was in my care,” said her second cousin, Josette Thomas. “She was on the bed listening to the radio and smiling. Those are actually the memories I want to keep in my head. I don’t want that memory to leave me.”