Tulalip Tribal Member Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder in Death of Toddler
One Child Dead, Second Critically Injured After Long-time Neglect
An enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to second degree murder and criminal mistreatment in the death of one daughter and the neglect of the second, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. CHRISTINA D. CARLSON, 38, was indicted by the grand jury last May following the October, 2012 death of her 19-month-old daughter and the neglect of her 33-month-old daughter. Under the terms of the plea agreement, both the prosecution and defense will recommend a prison sentence of eight to thirteen years. However, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart is not bound by that recommendation and can impose any sentence up to the maximum life sentence allowed by law. Sentencing is scheduled for July 21, 2014.
CARLSON has been in federal custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington, since January 11, 2013. The criminal complaint and plea agreement describe 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 admits in her plea agreement that she was away from the car for several hours, attempting to obtain drugs for her personal use. 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.
The case was investigated by the Tulalip Tribal Police and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.