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Sibling of Janiya Thomas wrote to Manatee judge

Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 29, 2016

Now that the lawyers for Keishanna Thomas, the Bradenton woman accused of killing and stuffing one of her daughters into a family freezer last year, have received all the state's evidence documents in the discovery process, those documents have been made public.

Up until now, the details of the investigation had come out in drips.

ABC Action News was given access Tuesday to nearly the whole reservoir of evidence.

Among the documents that are now public record, is a handwritten letter from an older sibling of Janiya Thomas to the Manatee County judge overseeing the murder case.

The sibling wrote “the letter to tell my sister [sic] story for her because she didn’t get to tell you guys what my mom did to her," the letter says. “So it’s my turn to tell you the truth.”

That "truth" includes a heartbreaking account of repeated abuse of Janiya at the hands of her own mother Keishanna Thomas.

That includes episodes when Janiya was tied up by the hands and wrists and her head was dunked in “nasty” bath and toilet water, says the sibling in the letter.

The letter also describes the time Janiya, who was underfed, escaped the house to dig through a neighbor’s trash cans for food.

Most heartbreaking of all, the sibling describes the time they saw their little sister’s emaciated body lying lifeless on their bathroom floor.

The sibling says they called out to Janiya, who didn’t answer.

“She was dead,” writes the sibling, whose identity we are not publishing because the sibling is a minor and possibly the victim of a child abuse as well.

Janiya Thomas was 11 years old, but just 44 pounds when her frozen body was found by investigators inside a cardboard box.

The evidence recently made public shows that Bradenton detectives even identified what that cardboard box was once used for.

Copied photographs from detectives show the box was once used by Fed Ex to ship king-size “Venetian black” bedding from the California-based company Legacy Decor to Keishanna Thomas on Jan. 7, 2015.

The documents even show the customer, Thomas, was the one who received and signed off on receiving the 10-pound shipment.

Keishanna Thomas is due back in a Manatee County courtroom in April.

Her murder trial is currently scheduled for November.