Authorities in Detroit arrested a 30-year-old woman early on Friday after the body of a 3-year-old boy was found inside the freezer of a home, police said.
The body was found in a freezer in the basement of the home after officers and child protective services were called to conduct a welfare check at the location, Detroit Police Department (DPD) Chief James White said at a news conference.
The cause and nature of the toddler’s death have not been released. Police didn’t say how long the boy had been in the freezer, but confirmed the body was “decomposing.”
Because there were other children at the home, authorities are withholding the exact address where the child was found. Police said the home was located in the Monte Vista area near Fullerton on Detroit’s westside.
“Upon making it to this location with Child Protective Services and interviewing the occupant of the home, it was determined that the 3-year-old child was deceased in this home in the basement. And, sadly, found in a freezer,” White said.
“This case has shocked me and has shocked our investigators,” the police chief added.
The woman, who has been identified as the child’s mother, was taken into custody but has not been named.
White said the woman appeared suspicious after her response to deputies was inconsistent while being interviewed. Officials then notified a supervisor to come to the home to have additional questioning.
“The discovery would not have been possible without the officers’ intuition,” White said. “When they talked to the occupant of the home, they recognized that there was something not right about the conversation and the way this occupant was communicating with them.”
The chief further explained that the woman’s initial response was dismissive, as if in an attempt to get the officers to leave.
The case will be jointly investigated by the DPD’s homicide unit and the department’s child abuse division.
Police said that there were five other children living in the home, which was in a poor condition. They will be placed at another location and taken care of by child protective services and members of the DPD.
“The other kids that were in the home, just imagine what they must have gone through and what they must have endured being inside that home,” White said. “Very troubling case, very very troubling case,” he added.
White also said responding deputies will be “certainly getting support” as the discovery has had a profound impact on them.
“That is something no one should ever have to see,” he said.