The body that was found in a freezer last week has been positively identified as Janiya Thomas, an 11-year-old Bradenton, Fla., girl who had been missing for more than a year.
The bombshell was dropped in a court hearing Monday afternoon in the case of Janiya's mother, 31-year-old Keishanna Thomas.
"Is it established now that that was the body of that child or is it not certain yet?" Manatee Circuit Judge Scott M. Brownell asked attorneys at the hearing that lasted roughly three minutes.
Thomas' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Franklin Roberts, said he believes it is now.
Never miss a local story.
"Because the answer to that question satisfies everything," Brownell said. "Do we know who that child is?"
"It is Janiya Thomas," Assistant State Attorney Arthur Brown responded.
The contempt of court charge against Thomas was dropped as a result of the positive identification. Last week, Thomas refused multiple times to speak to a judge in court about her daughter.
Thomas was first brought before a judge Oct. 16 after refusing to tell investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigative Division of the child's whereabouts. Investigators had come to the Thomas home in the Village at Cortez Apartments, 488 51st St. W., Bradenton to remove all five of her children as part of a child-abuse case involving her 12-year-old son.
On the night of Oct. 18, law enforcement was called to the home of a family member who had discovered a body believed to be Janiya inside a freezer.
Janiya's mother and a boyfriend, yet to be identified by police, brought the freezer to the home Oct. 14 under the guise she was being evicted.
There will be an arraignment for Thomas at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in her dependency case involving her other children, ages 15, 12, 9 and 2.
Thomas is being held in Manatee County jail on her remaining charges of aggravated child abuse, child abuse with great bodily harm and abuse of a human dead body, on bonds totaling $200,000.