State will not seek death penalty for mom of girl found dead in freezer

BRADENTON, FL  — The state announced Thursday that they will not seek the death penalty for Keishanna Thomas, the Bradenton woman charged with killing her 11-year-old daughter and storing her body in a freezer.

Thomas was charged with murder in December 2015 in the death of her daughter Janiya Thomas. At that time, Thomas

Keishanna Thomas (Bradenton Police Department)
Keishanna Thomas (Bradenton Police Department)

was already being held at the Manatee County Jail on charges of aggravated child abuse and abuse of a dead human body.

Janiya had not been seen since August 2014. Her body was found in October 2015 in a freezer that had been placed in the garage at her aunt’s home.

An affidavit reveals Janiya weighed just 44 pounds and was emaciated. Her right femur was completely broken. That injury occurred two to four weeks before the little girl’s death. In addition, Janiya’s hands and feet had ligature marks “indicative of being tied up,” investigators said.

Keishanna Thomas’ older children told investigators Janiya was kept in the bathroom because she suffered a condition which caused incontinence. The young girl was forced to sleep in the bathroom, investigators say. One day, one of the children saw the mother tie Janiya up and dunk her head in water, investigators said. Afterward, the bathroom where Janiya lived was cleaned and opened, according to the report. The sibling never saw her after that, investigators said.

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