The revelation this week that detectives in Snohomish County discovered the remains of a young girl who had been dead for years raised many questions about what Child Protective Services knew – and when.
If anything is clear, it's that the child, Tianna Kirchner, came from a family with many troubles.
No adults have been charged with any crimes so we are not naming her parents.
According to new court documents reviewed today, Tianna was born with drugs in her system and was living with her grandmother as a result from the time she was born.
This information was revealed in a divorce proceeding in 2010 between Tianna's mother and her ex-husband, who was not Tianna's biological father, according to documents. In the divorce papers, both sides accused each other of disturbing conduct, including abuse, drugs and alcohol.
We asked CPS why this would not have triggered an investigation. According to a spokeswoman, CPS does not monitor divorce proceedings to search for signs of possible child abuse or neglect.
CPS has said it did not have any involvement with the family from July 2010 until summer 2016, when separate allegations caused the agency to become involved once again.
CPS will not comment further on why it stopped being involved in July 2010.
CPS said it had no further referrals after July 2010.
There are also questions about inconsistencies in the search warrant affidavit filed in Snohomish County.
A social worker from CPS reportedly told a Lynnwood police detective that, "her office has in fact been searching for Tianna for some four or so years. She is missing."
Today, CPS disputes that, saying the detective misheard the social worker, who meant to say she had been searching for Tianna for "months." The detective stands by his original statement. Sgt. Teachworth of Lynnwood Police said in a phone call he believes the CPS social worker did, in fact, claim the agency had been searching for Tianna for "years."
CPS and DSHS have also opened an investigation into possible benefits fraud after it learned Tianna's mother and husband had been collecting benefits for her for years after her death. CPS claims benefit recipients would need to file paperwork every six months attesting that they still need the benefits, but there would be no requirement for additional proof that a child is still alive.