Tulalip woman indicted in daughter’s death

TULALIP — A Tulalip mother could spend a minimum 30 years behind bars if convicted as charged in the Oct. 8 neglect death of her young daughter.

A federal grand jury in Seattle on Tuesday indicted Christina D. Carlson with second-degree murder and criminal mistreatment charges. Her arraignment is scheduled May 23.

Federal prosecutors allege that Carlson, 36, all but abandoned her 19-month-old daughter Chantel Craig and her other daughter, 3, in a parked car on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

Chantel was found dying in a car seat, covered in feces and lice. An autopsy determined she was dehydrated and suffered from severe malnutrition. The older girl also suffered from lack of care and malnutrition.

In the hours before Chantel was found, Carlson allegedly was sending text messages, attempting to find drugs, according to court papers. Tests conducted on the older girl’s hair showed evidence that the girl 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.

An investigation by Tulalip Tribal Police and the FBI determined Carlson and her children had been living in the car since mid-September. The car was tucked out of the way, down a dirt road on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

The indictment mirrors charges federal prosecutors sought when Carlson’s case was transferred from tribal court in January.

If convicted as charged, Carlson faces a mandatory minimum 30 years in prison for her daughter’s death, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

The criminal mistreatment charges are punishable by up to a decade behind bars.

Federal prosecutors allege that Carlson withheld basic necessities of life from her children. She allegedly told police she hadn’t changed the girls’ diapers in four days because she had run out. Police found a full package of unused diapers in the car’s trunk.

The case already has undergone a review by a team of experts who by law were required to examine the circumstances surrounding Chantel’s death. The panel offered recommendations, but found no “critical errors” on behalf of state Child Administration employees.

Since 2001, the Tulalip Tribes have assumed jurisdiction over criminal matters on the reservation involving Tulalip members and other people who belong to federally recognized tribes.

Federal authorities also have jurisdiction on tribal land to investigate and prosecute more than a dozen major crimes, such as murder, rape, manslaughter and felony child abuse or neglect.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

In Sultan, there was a seat at the table for everyone

Every year, the town’s community dinner ensures no one has to dine alone on Thanksgiving.

Most Read