Missing Toddler Found Dead in Closet

Jul 1, 2012 4:28pm
abc toddler Ziya Turner jt 120701 wblog Missing Toddler Found Dead in Closet

(ABC News)

Detroit police are investigating the mysterious death of a toddler girl who was found dead under a pile of clothes in her grandmother’s,  hours after she was reported missing.

Zyia Turner was found dead in a closet, underneath a pile of clothes, some type of metal box and other items, sources told ABC News’ Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV.

Zyia, who is 17 months old, was being watched by her uncle and another adult, who were babysitting several kids at the time of her disappearance.

“The uncle was taking care of several children and left for a couple minutes to a bedroom and when he returned the girl was gone,” Sgt. Allan Quinn told the Detroit News. “When he asked the other children where she was, none of them knew.”

The family passed out flyers in the area and were under the belief little Zyia had been abducted, they said.

“We were hoping… just hoping… someone had took her,” Zyia’s grandmother, Bridget Elan told WXYZ-TV.  “We never thought she was in the house right up under our nose it didn’t cross our minds.”

It wasn’t until 1 a.m. Saturday that a cadaver dog picked up the girl’s scent inside the home and led police to her body.

Detroit police have declined to comment on the case beyond a brief statement released Saturday.

“This is an ongoing investigation and individuals are being questioned by the Detroit Police Department’s Homicide Investigators. No additional information is (being) released at this time,” the release said.

Zyia’s mom, Erica James, 24, told the Detroit Free Press she had no idea how her daughter got stuck in a closet.

“I [have] two closets at home and she never went in,” she said. “She never pulled [anything] down out of the closet, so it’s strange that my baby is in the closet under 20 pounds of clothes.”

Elan told WXYZ-TV she believes the little girl’s death was an accident.

“My grandkids … they’re blaming themselves, like we didn’t search the area,” she said.  “But you can’t put that on you.  It was a bad accident.  It was a very bad accident that we just have to deal with.”

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office has completed an autopsy, but they are awaiting results of a toxicology report, which could take up to eight weeks.
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