Police arrest mother after missing toddler found dead

EVERETT, WA – A shocking incident unfolded in Everett, Washington, as a mother was arrested in connection with the murder of her four-year-old son. Ariel Garcia was reported missing from an apartment on Vesper Drive on March 27, 2024, according to the Everett Police Department.

The boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, was taken into custody in Vancouver, Washington, with the assistance of Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The Everett Police Department announced that she would be transported to the Snohomish County Jail, where she would face charges of first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault of a child.

Ariel’s body was found along Interstate 5 in Pierce County on Thursday, following his mother’s arrest on Wednesday for allegedly providing false information to the authorities. These charges were later dismissed to facilitate her transfer to Snohomish County to face graver felony charges.

Footage from a surveillance camera at 3Peaks Taphouse in Ridgefield, nearly 150 miles south of Everett, showed a vehicle of interest arriving on Wednesday. A person, believed to be a woman, was seen exiting the vehicle and leaving the area shortly afterward.

Court documents indicated that when Janet Garcia was arrested, she had blood on her clothing. Furthermore, an arrest affidavit alleged that a significant amount of blood was found in the apartment where she and Ariel lived in Everett.

Garcia reportedly told investigators that Ariel had fallen and hit his head on the morning he disappeared. She claimed to have taken him to a hospital but left due to extended waiting times, leaving him with a friend in Seattle. She then claimed to have taken a bus to Ridgefield, Washington, and professed ignorance about her son’s subsequent whereabouts.

Court records revealed that Ariel’s grandmother had expressed concerns about his safety while under his mother’s care and had filed a guardianship petition two days before his disappearance. The grandmother, whose identity has not been disclosed, claimed that Ariel was scared of his mother due to her drug use and unpredictable behavior.