Tulalip Tribal Member Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Second Degree Murder In Death Of Toddler

One Child Dead, Second Critically Injured after Long-time Neglect

Source Press Release: United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington, August 4, 2014

An enrolled member of the Tulalip Tribes was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release for 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 and pleaded guilty in April 2014, following the October, 2012 death of her 19-month-old daughter and the neglect of her 33-month-old daughter.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, “The details of the murder and mistreatment are nauseating…. She knew she needed to care for her children and she chose not to.”

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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.

Sentencing delayed for mother convicted of daughter’s murder

By Diana Hefley, The Herald

TULALIP — A Tulalip woman convicted of murder in the 2012 death of her young daughter won’t learn her punishment until early next month.

Christina Carlson was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The hearing was pushed back to Aug. 4.

Carlson, 38, pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder and criminal mistreatment. Lawyers have agreed to recommend a sentence between eight and 13 years. A federal judge isn’t obligated to follow the attorneys’ recommendations. Carlson faces up to life behind bars.

Her daughter, Chantel Craig, 1 ½, suffered from severe malnutrition and died after paramedics found her. Chantel and her sister, 3, were living with Carlson in a car on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

The girls had sores all over their bodies and were covered in feces, lice and maggots. Chantel wasn’t breathing when paramedics reached her. They were unable to revive her. The older girl was unconscious and suffered seizures. She was treated for dehydration and skin sores from prolonged exposure to feces and urine.

The girls were kept buckled into their car seats for hours. Carlson hadn’t changed their diapers for days despite having an unopened package of clean diapers in the trunk of the car. The girls also hadn’t been adequately fed in several days, possibly longer.

Evidence also showed that Carlson smoked heroin in the car with the girls inside.

The day that Chantel died Carlson left them alone for several hours to visit with nearby neighbors. She used their phone in an attempt to buy drugs. The neighbors eventually persuaded her to go check on the girls.

Chantel wasn’t breathing and her other daughter wasn’t responsive. She ran back up the road and called 911.

Carlson and the girls had for months been the focus of on-again, off-again searches by state and tribal child welfare workers. Their grandmother called Child Protective Services in December 2011 with concerns that the girls were being neglected.

Carlson had lost custody of at least three other children because of her drug use and neglect, court papers said.

In a terrible coincidence, state social workers closed the investigation hours before Chantel died. They hadn’t been able to find her or Carlson. The woman and her daughters had for weeks been living in her car down a dirt road on the reservation.

 

Tulalip mother pleads guilty to murder, mistreatment

Family photoNineteen-month-old Chantel Craig died Oct. 8, 2012. Her mother has pleaded guilty to a murder charge.

Family photo
Nineteen-month-old Chantel Craig died Oct. 8, 2012. Her mother has pleaded guilty to a murder charge.

 

By Chris Winters, The Herald

SEATTLE — A Tulalip woman charged with killing one daughter and neglecting another pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to one count of murder and another of criminal mistreatment.

Christina Carlson, 37, will likely receive eight to 13 years in prison when she is sentenced. That’s scheduled for July.

Had she been found guilty at trial, Carlson could have received a life sentence.

Carlson previously pleaded not guilty to the charges and was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing later this month.

Some of Carlson’s family members left the courtroom in tears as assistant U.S. attorney Tate London described the condition that Carlson’s daughters were found in.

Carlson showed no emotion and only answered “yes” when Magistrate Judge James Donohue asked whether she understood the charges and the plea agreement.

She was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 19-month-old daughter, Chantel Craig. The toddler and her older sister, 3, were all but abandoned in a car on the Tulalip Indian Reservation in October 2012.

The toddlers were buckled in their car seats for hours. They had sores all over their bodies and were covered in feces, lice and maggots. Investigators believe they likely had gone days without food or water.

Chantel wasn’t breathing when paramedics reached her. An autopsy determined that she suffered from severe malnutrition. Her sister was treated for dehydration and skin sores from prolonged exposure to feces and urine.

The investigation into Chantel’s death includes more than 3,000 pages of reports and numerous video and audio files.

Prosecutors allege that Carlson withheld basic necessities of life from her children. In the hours before Chantel died, Carlson allegedly was sending text messages, attempting to buy drugs, court papers said. Witnesses reported seeing Carlson smoking heroin days earlier in the car while the girls were in the back seat.

Tests conducted on the older girl’s hair showed evidence that the child had been exposed to opiates.

Carlson and the girls had for months been the focus of on-again, off-again searches by state and tribal child welfare workers. Their grandmother called Child Protective Services in December 2011 with concerns that the girls were being neglected.

Carlson had lost custody of at least three other children because of her drug use and neglect, court papers said.

In a terrible coincidence, state social workers closed the investigation hours before Chantel died. They hadn’t been able to find her or Carlson. The woman and her daughters had for weeks been living in her car down a dirt road on the reservation.

Carlson is scheduled to be sentenced July 21.

Trial postponed in Tulalip child’s death

Diana Hefley, The Herald

TULALIP — The trial of a Tulalip woman whose young daughter died of neglect has been rescheduled for later this year in part to give the defense more time to explore whether Christina Carlson has mental health issues.

Carlson is charged with second-degree murder for the death of her 19-month-old daughter Chantel Craig. The toddler and her older sister, 3, were all but abandoned in a car on the Tulalip Indian Reservation in October.

They were buckled in their car seats for hours. The girls had sores all over their bodies and were covered in feces, lice and maggots. Investigators believe they likely had gone days without food or water.

Chantel wasn’t breathing when paramedics reached her. An autopsy determined that she suffered from severe malnutrition. Her sister was treated for dehydration and skin sores for prolonged exposure to feces and urine.

Along with murder, Carlson, 37, is charged with two counts of criminal mistreatment. She faces a minimum 30 years in prison if convicted as charged.

Carlson pleaded not guilty to the charges in May.

Her federal public defender last month requested additional time to prepare for trial.

The investigation into Chantel’s death includes more than 3,000 pages of reports and numerous video and audio files.

Carlson also has been undergoing a neuropsychological examination. So far, a doctor has determined that Carlson has a low IQ, her attorney wrote. The defense also plans to have a doctor, who specializes in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, examine Carlson.

“Given the severity of the charges in this case, and the need for assessment of competency and mental health issues, additional time is needed,” federal public defender Paula Deutsch wrote.

Deutsch wrote more time will allow her to conduct an investigation and “possibly negotiate a resolution short of a trial.”

Carlson now is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 12.

Prosecutors allege that Carlson withheld basic necessities of life from her children. In the hours before Chantel died, Carlson allegedly was sending text messages, attempting to buy drugs, court papers said. Witnesses reported seeing Carlson smoking heroin days earlier in the car while the girls were in the backseat.

Tests conducted on the older girl’s hair showed evidence that the child had been exposed to opiates.

Carlson and the girls had for months been the focus of on-again, off-again searches by state and tribal child welfare workers. Their grandmother called Child Protective Services in December 2011 with concerns that the girls were being neglected.

Carlson had lost custody of at least three other children because of her drug use and neglect, court papers said.

In a terrible coincidence, state social workers closed the investigation hours before Chantel died. They hadn’t been able to find her or Carlson. The woman and her daughters had for weeks been living in her car down a dirt road on the reservation.