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Press Release

Tulalip Tribal Member Indicted for Second Degree Murder in Death of Toddler

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington

            A federal grand jury in Seattle today indicted CHRISTINA D. CARLSON, 37, an enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes with second degree murder and two counts of criminal mistreatment related to the October, 2012 death of her young daughter and the neglect of her second daughter, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  CARLSON will be arraigned on the indictment on May 23, 2013 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

CARLSON has been in federal custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington, since January 11, 2013.  CARLSON was originally charged by a criminal complaint which is the sworn statement of the investigating agent.  To proceed to trial a defendant must be indicted by a grand jury.  That indictment, listing the three charges, was returned today.  The criminal complaint described how on October 8, 2012, emergency crews were called to an address on Marine Drive NE on the Tulalip Tribal Reservation where CARLSON was performing CPR on her 19-month-old daughter who was unresponsive on a blanket on the ground.  The child was unconscious, not breathing and covered in urine and feces.  A second child, a 33-month old girl, was found strapped in her car seat in a nearby vehicle.  The child was pale, unresponsive and covered in urine and feces. The girl was transported to the hospital and later recovered.  The 19-month old child died and the Snohomish County Medical examiner classified the manner of death as homicide by parental neglect.  According to the report the child was malnourished and dehydrated, weighing only 19 pounds.  The child’s skin in the diaper area was excoriated and infested with maggots.  Her hair was infested with lice.

The investigation revealed that CARLSON had been living in the car with the girls on the property since mid-September.  On October 8, 2012 CARLSON had left the girls in the car while she went to use a phone at the residence on the property.  CARLSON was away from the car for more than an hour by some estimates.  About 20 minutes after the neighbors told her to go back to the car and her children, CARLSON returned asking them to call 9-1-1 because the youngest child was unresponsive.

Second Degree Murder is punishable by up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum 30 years in prison for the death of a child.  Criminal mistreatment is punishable by up to ten years in prison.  The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the Tulalip Tribal Police and the FBI.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.

Updated March 24, 2015