Police in Alabama found remains they say are likely Natalie DeBlase, a 5-year-old girl whose father is accused of murdering her, and her 3-year-old brother.
Mobile Police Maj. Kara Rose told The Associated Press that searchers found the remains in the woods off a rural road at around 9 a.m., a half-hour after beginning their hunt for the day.
The children's father, John DeBlase, is already charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Natalie and her brother, Chase.
DeBlase's girlfriend, Heather Leavell-Keaton, who was arrested in Louisville, Ky., on child abuse charges in the case, was being extradited to Alabama where court officials told ABC News she would face upgraded charges.
Natalie was killed and buried in Alabama in March and Chase was killed and buried in Mississippi in June, police said. Mobile Police Officer Christopher Levy said confusion over DeBlase's statements initially led investigators to believe that the boy was the first to die.
Neither child was reported missing until November when Leavell-Keaton went to police saying she feared for the safety of an infant that she had with DeBlase. The baby is currently in state custody.
DeBlase's lawyer Jim Sears told ABC News Friday that he was informed that Leavell-Keaton would also be charged with murder.
"She will be charged with the murders, that's my understanding from the prosecutors," Sears said.
Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson would not confirm Sears' statement.
"At this point murder charges are not authorized by the facts we have discovered. Any investigation takes as long as it takes, and we will absolutely charge what we can as the facts are discovered," Tyson said.
"Currently we have upgraded her charges to aggravated child abuse, abuse of corpses. ... The investigation is vigorous, ongoing," he said.
Leavell-Keaton had been held in Louisville, Ky., on charges of child abuse in connection to the case. According to arrest warrants from the Mobile Police Department, she has been accused of submitting Chase and Natalie DeBlase to horrific abuse.
The arrest warrant charges DeBlase with allowing Leavell-Keaton to torture Chase while the two slept.
"Allowing Heather Leavell-Keaton (his girlfriend) to duck-tape the childs hands to the side of his legs, tape a broom handle to his back, placing a sock in his mouth and duck-taping it to his mouth, then making the child stand in a corner all night when they went to bed," the warrant says.
According to police Natalie was not spared the abuse allegedly meted out by DeBlase and Leavell-Keaton, his girlfriend since 2008.
According to a separate arrest warrant, DeBlase allegedly allowed Leavell-Keaton to duct-tape Natalie's hands and feet before stuffing her in a suitcase.
"Duck-tape the child's hands and feet, place a sock in her mouth, place her inside a black suitcase and leave it inside a closet from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.," the warrant says.
Police have not yet given a cause of death for Chase or Natalie, but they believe the abuse played a major factor.
Chase and Natalie DeBlase Were Killed in March and June
On Wednesday, police announced they had located the remains of Chase in woods just off a Mississippi highway.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said during a press conference after the discovery that Chase was stuffed inside a black garbage bag, wearing only a diaper.
According to Sears, DeBlase has been cooperating with police in helping them locate the bodies, although police are still searching for Natalie's remains in some woods of Alabama.
Sears said DeBlase has also maintained to police that Leavell-Keaton was responsible for the deaths of the children, and he will enter a not guilty plea when he is arraigned.
According to police little Chase DeBlase's remains stayed hidden there for over six months, and for Mobile Police Officer Chris Levy, that's one of the most troubling parts of this story.
"The fact for six months a child was dead and nobody reported it. For six months," Levy said to ABC News today.
Levy said the birth mother and grandparents of the children have been questioned as to why they didn't report the children missing, and according to him they gave reasons, "no good reasons," though he said.
Equally as troubling, Levy said detectives later found a number neighbors and associates of DeBlase and Leavell-Keaton who claimed they witnessed the children being abused numerous times.
"We have all these people coming forward now who say they saw them hit the children with objects, they say they saw burns on the children that required medical attention, and nobody called the police. Where were those people a year ago when these children were actually in danger?" Levy said.
John DeBlase and Heather Leavell-Keaton Blame Each Other for Children's Deaths
According to police documents, the grisly story came to the attention of police on Nov. 18 when a family member of Leavell-Keaton allegedly told police she feared the children were dead, a report from the Louisville Police Department states.
Police contacted Leavell-Keaton, and began interviewing neighbors of associates of the couple. The report says at that point she requested a restraining order against DeBlase out of fear he may harm their infant daughter.
"I am afraid that he is going to do something to harm our daughter," the statement says.
"I feel he may have murdered his children because he said that they were nonresponsive," Leavell-Keaton allegedly told police according to the report.
"Choices were made this morning, and he had to do what he had to do," Leavell-Keaton told police DeBlase said to her, according to the report.
According to police, the couple had moved to Louisville from Mobile several months ago.
Officer Carey Klain of the Louisville Police told ABC News that as they filed Leavell-Keaton's request for a restraining order and took down her report on the children, detectives from Mobile spoke to several people who indicated they witnessed her abuse the children on numerous occasions. At that point Levy said she was arrested on charges of child abuse.
Mobile police began trying to locate DeBlase and the children. DeBlase was picked up on Dec. 2 in Florida. According to a report out of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's office, DeBlase had been staying in Florida with friend Randall Melville since Nov. 30.
Mellville says he received a phone call from an associate who, according to the police report, told Melville he saw a television report about DeBlase being wanted in connection with the disappearance of his children.
"Melville said he asked John about this information which John then got up yelling 'I didn't do it,' and left the residence," the police report states.
DeBlase was picked up by police a short time later, and he again allegedly blurted out to the officers, "I didn't do it," the report says.