Body of quadriplegic girl found in storage unit near Flint

Relates to:
Date: 2009-04-22

Tammy Stables Battaglia
Free Press

The body of a 9-year-old quadriplegic girl was found this morning in a Flint-area storage locker, and her aunt is being held in connection with her death, according to investigators.

Relatives of Shylea Myza Thomas contacted the Michigan Department of Human Services at 5 p.m. Tuesday to report they hadn’t seen the girl in six weeks, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said today. Flint Police immediately began a search for the girl, who woke up paralyzed and in a vegetative state after being accidentally suffocated in a bassinet when she was 3 weeks old, he said.

“Their main goal was to find this child,” Leyton said. They discovered her body in a garbage bag, stuffed in a rubber storage container covered with mothballs, in a Vienna Township storage facility about 2:30 a.m. today. “We were hoping that maybe the child could be located and, if not saved, at least given a decent burial.”

The girl’s aunt, who has had custody of her and her 11-year-old sister for more than three years after their mother vanished, rented the storage unit six weeks ago, he said. An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine how the girl died, Leyton said.

The girl’s sister and six other children who were living in the aunt’s home on East Pierson Road on Flint’s north side are all in DHS custody today, he said.


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