BRADENTON -- Investigators are searching for an 11-year-old girl who has not been seen in months, according to the Bradenton Police Department.
Janiya Thomas was not in her mother's apartment in the West Bradenton apartment complex Village at Cortez, 4880 51st St. W., when the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigations arrived Friday to remove her and four siblings from the home, according to Bradenton Police Lt. James Racky. Investigators only found her four siblings -- ages 15, 12, 9 and 2 -- when they arrived.
Suspect Keishanna Thomas, 31, was arrested and brought before Circuit Judge Scott Brownell yet she refused to divulge the missing girl's location. Brownell ordered her held in contempt of court at the Manatee County jail.
"If she is with any family member, or if anyone knows any information about her whereabouts, we need to get information right away," Racky said. "We hate to say it, but we want to make sure she is alive."
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Investigators are also trying to locate any family members, he said.
"She has not been in school," Racky said. "We have no record of anyone seeing her."
Police first learned the child was missing from CPI officials Friday night, Racky said. They waited to release information to the public until they could confirm some details, he said.
Detectives worked late Friday night and into Saturday to locate the girl. Homicide detective James Curulla is assisting with the investigation as a precaution.
"We are just covering all bases," Racky said.
Detectives were present outside and watching as a forensic interview with the other four children was conducted Saturday afternoon.
Keishanna Thomas' arrest history include charges of violation of probation and prostitution.
The children were removed as the result of an investigation by Child Protective Services, but Racky said he could not provide any more details.
Police were unsure if the Department of Children and Families has any involvement now and attempts to contact their spokeswoman Saturday went unreturned.
Anyone having information with regard to this case is asked to call Bradenton police detective James Curulla at 941-747-3011, ext. 2224, detective Adrian Meridan at 941-932-9326 or remain anonymous and eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or send an anonymous e-tip to manateecrimestoppers.com.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.