FILED IN: Tragic Endings

Missing toddler found dead in grandmother's closet

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Zyia Roch-Quelle Alyssa Turner, a 17-month-old girl reported missing Friday night, was found dead just hours later at 1:00am Saturday. Her body was laying under some clothes and other items including a metal box in her grandmother’s closet.

Sergeant Allen Quinn said that Zyia, her two siblings, and several cousins were being watched at their paternal grandmother’s house on the 18800 block of Brinker by an uncle. “The uncle was taking care of several children and left for a couple minutes to a bedroom and when he returned the girl was gone,” Sergeant Quinn told The Detroit News. “When he asked the other children where she was, none of them knew.” They believed she had been abducted and called police at about 4pm. Police immediately began searching the neighborhood with tracking dogs. At 1am, a cadaver dog, searching the house, led police to Zyia’s body.

Zyia’s family are trying to understand what happened. Her mother, Erica James, age 24, told The Detroit Free Press that Zyia did not like closets.  “I [have] two closets at home and she never went in,” she said. “She never pulled [anything] down out of the closet, so it’s strange that my baby is in the closet under 20 pounds of clothes.” Zyia’s grandmother believes it was an accident. “It was a bad accident.  It was a very bad accident that we just have to deal with.”

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.

Additional sources: ABC NewsWXYZ Detroit