May 19, 2024 1:30 pm

The premier news source for Snohomish County

Mother charged for the murder of her 4-year-old son, Ariel

EVERETT, Wash., March 29, 2024—The Everett Police Department arrested Janet Ernestina Garcia on Friday, March 29, for the death of her 4-year-old son, local missing boy Ariel Garcia.

Picture of 4-year-old Ariel Garcia. SOURCE: Washington State Patrol.

Janet Garcia was placed in custody by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, March 27, for “making false statements to a public servant,” jail records state – just hours after her son was reported missing. Her vehicle was impounded that same day by Clark County police.

Members of the department’s Violent Crime Unit arrested Garcia in Vancouver, Washington for Murder in the First Degree, Murder in the Second Degree and Assault of a Child in the First Degree, with the assistance of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO). Janet was a person of interest and her whereabouts were known early in the investigation, the Everett PD said.

Janet Garcia is expected to be booked into the Snohomish County Jail this evening.

“I am completely heartbroken for the family and friends of Ariel Garcia and they will remain in my thoughts as they grieve this unbelievably tragic loss,” said Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin. “I want to commend our Everett Police Department leadership, the many hard-working men and women that make up our team and our law enforcement partners throughout the region for all your work investigating this case. I also want to thank our media partners and the public for their help disseminating information and sharing tips – it really does make a difference.”

According to Superior Court records obtained by the Lynnwood Times, Ariel’s mother, Janet, had a longtime problem with substance abuse which inhibited her ability to parent. She would often go on drug binges that would last days at a time. Janet had been to rehab multiple times in the past.

Janet had been living with her mother Maria who said her daughter’s abuse of alcohol and drugs had progressively gotten worse over the last couple of months and she would often leave for days at a time without notice, becoming “violent and unpredictable.” Ariel was reportedly “scared” of his mother and scared of being around her. Both he and his brother, just three years older in age, would often express disdain for their mother and feared being around her.

The elder bother’s father, Armando, is in prison and unable take over care of either child. Ariel had no other relatives nearby that he trusted other than his grandmother, who filed for legal guardianship on March 25.

Maria had been looking after the child since her daughter was pregnant with Ariel and was responsible for taking him to school, childcare, and doctor’s appointments. She was also buying him clothes and food.

Pictures of Ariel Garcia. SOURCE: Everett Police.

Just a couple of days before guardianship was filed Maria told the court that Janet had taken Ariel to a bar to go out drinking with her friends. Ariel did not have shoes nor proper clothing, she said, despite it being a cold night. She would also leave her son unsupervised for long periods of time with his older brother without food.

The week leading up to Maria seeking guardianship, Janet had grown progressively more “erratic.” She shaved her head and threw Ariel’s older brother against a wall violently.

“I love my grandson and I want to protect him from whatever his mom is capable of when she is on drugs,” wrote Maria. “My daughter is a threat to her son…I am scared she will act maliciously towards him and harm him beyond repair.

In addition to filing for legal guardianship Maria had filed for a restraining order against her daughter Janet prohibiting her from being within 100 feet of Ariel and his brother. In those orders a requirement for psychiatric therapy, drug rehabilitation and drug counseling was also mandated, as was access to Janet’s 2023 tax refund so that Maria could purchase clothing for the children. She feared that Janet would use the money on drugs and alcohol, she told the court.

“If she has access to her tax refund I’m afraid she will lose herself even more. The last thing I want is to lose her due to an overdose or in a drug-related incident,” wrote Maria. She needs rehab and psychiatric help to bring her back to who she was. Her kids need her.”

An emergency guardianship was granted on Tuesday, March 26. A court date was scheduled for Friday, March 29, to go over the conditions of guardianship and the restraining order – one day after Ariel was found dead in Pierce County.

“These orders will give me peace of mind while Ariel is in my care,” Maria wrote to the court. “I really hope Janet will be able to come back from this to be able to fully parent her children. She needs more help than I can give her.”

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, at 5:55 p.m. Everett Police were notified that a body had been located along I-5 in Pierce County. EPD Detectives responded to the location and were able to confirm the deceased was 4-year-old Ariel Garcia. The family was notified.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner now has custody and will determine the cause and manner of death at a later date.

Ariel had been reported missing under mysterious circumstances since Wednesday, when he was last seen. Law enforcement agencies conducted an extensive, regional search effort involving nearly one hundreds officers, agents, and investigators from multiple jurisdictions including the FBI.

The next day an Endangered Missing Persons Advisory, a more locally focused alert, was issued by Washington State Patrol. The case did not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert, which has Federally set requirements.

“On behalf of the Everett Police Department, I want to share our condolences with the loved ones of young Ariel Garcia. This is not the outcome we had hoped for,” said Everett Chief of Police John DeRousse. “I want to thank all our partners that jumped into action to support this search effort. Our investigation will continue and we will do everything we can to ensure there is justice for this young boy.”

This is still an active investigation. Due to the nature of the investigation, the Everett Police were unable to provide additional information.

The Everett Police is still seeking the public’s help obtaining information in this homicide case. Anyone with information can submit tips by phone to 425-257-8450 or by email to

7 Responses

  1. Why wasn’ t CPS called to remove the children from their home? This monster female who gave birth to this boy she should rot in prison behind bars for the rest of her life since Death Row doesn’t exist In Snohomish County. These are my thoughts.

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