EVERETT, Wash. -- Snohomish County sheriff's detectives have recovered the remains of a young girl who died at least four years ago and whose body was hidden in a plastic storage bin.
Detectives seized the storage tote when they served a warrant at a mobile home residence in Everett last Saturday. On Sunday, detectives and the medical examiner's office confirmed the container contained the body of a girl about four years old. The identification of the remains and the cause of death have not been released.
KING 5 has learned that the child was Tianna Serena Marie Kirchner.
The sheriff's office began investigating the girl's disappearance after receiving information from a distant relative of the girl. During their investigation, detectives learned that the girl's relatives believed she had died when she was four years old and while under the supervision of her mother. The relatives directed police to a residence in Lynnwood where the girl's mother and her then-boyfriend (now husband) lived at the time of the child's death, along with four other kids, say search warrant documents.
The mother and her husband (not the girl's biological father) had a history with police and "panicked" when they discovered the girl had died, according to the sheriff's office. According to the search warrant affidavit, police believe the two wrapped the girl in a towel and put her body in a cooler, which they kept in their residence in Lynnwood. When the girl's body began to decompose and smell, the two allegedly poured concrete into the cooler, then kept the cooler for three more years, eventually stashing it at a relative's residence in Lynnwood a year ago after the couple moved.
The relatives who went to police said they learned from the couple's children that the young girl "was dead." Later, the girl's mother admitted to the relatives that the girl had died and that they stored her body in the cooler.
The girl’s mother told family members, including her other children, several versions of how the girl died, say sheriff's officials. The girl was never reported dead or missing to any law enforcement agency, nor was she ever enrolled in a school. She would have been nine years old.
According to the search warrant documents, when investigators contacted Child Protective Services, a CPS specialist "explained that her office has in fact been searching for (the child) for some four years or so; and that she is missing." CPS said at various times when they questioned the girl's mom about her daughter's whereabouts, she would not cooperate or would offer the names of people who had custody of her daughter. Yet those individuals could not be located nor verify they had custody.
At this time, no arrests have been made, and the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death and the disposal of her body remain under investigation.
The sheriff's office is working with Lynnwood Police Department, Child Protective Services and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services in the investigation.