DETROIT (AP) — Police, relatives and people who never even met 6-year-old Kaylah and her 8-month-old brother Kristian have scoured one of Detroit’s largest parks, looked beneath trash, and peered through darkened basements of abandoned houses for the children.
So far, the searches have been futile, but authorities are holding on to the chance that when the children are found, they’ll be alive.
“That’s what we want. That’s what everyone wants,” FBI special agent David Porter said Wednesday, more than a month after relatives reported last seeing Kaylah Hunter and Kristian Justice.
“We hope we meet that end, but we realize that might not happen,” said Porter.
The children initially were believed to be with their mother, Alicia Fox, who was last seen in late May. A tip led relatives and then police to a vacant house in Detroit on June 9. In the basement they found Fox’s decomposed body. She had been shot.
Prosecutors believe Fox was shot in the family’s Detroit home sometime between May 25 and May 27.
The search for suspects eventually focused on her estranged husband, Erin Justice. Justice, 28, was arrested June 11 in the Atlanta area and charged with first-degree murder.
Police from Detroit flew to Georgia to speak with Justice, who is fighting extradition back to Michigan. Prosecutors in Detroit have not been able to determine if he has an attorney.
Another man, Timothy Jones, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to a felony. On Wednesday, prosecutors also charged Jones, 27, with tampering with evidence and concealing the death of an individual.
He has not entered a plea. The Associated Press left a message Wednesday seeking comment from Jones’ attorney.
Authorities say they still have not received the information they need to find the children.
About the time Justice was arrested, police dug in the backyard of a vacant house near the home he shared with Fox. Justice is Kristian’s father; Kaylah has a different father.
Dozens of volunteers searched June 14 in Detroit’s Rouge Park.
“We have searched from the east side to the west side, a location in Toledo, Ohio, flyovers over Rouge Park to the Detroit River,” said Officer Jennifer Moreno, a Detroit police spokeswoman. “They are searching every tip that comes in.”