A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

EVERETT — Surveillance footage shows the Everett mother accused of stabbing her 4-year-old son to death carrying a “toddler-sized” object wrapped in a blanket and walking into the forest near a dumpsite in Pierce County, according to charges filed Friday in Snohomish County Court.

Janet Ernestina Garcia appears in court via video alongside defense attorney Max Mensinger for her bail hearing on Monday, April 1, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Janet Ernestina Garcia appears in court via video alongside defense attorney Max Mensinger for her bail hearing on Monday, April 1, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Friday’s charges against Janet Garcia, 27, come three weeks after her son went missing from an Everett apartment, leading to a regional search for the boy until he was found dead along I-5 in Pierce County. Detectives believe the killing was premeditated because of the extensive injuries, according to a police report last month.

Janet Garcia’s arraignment was set for Monday afternoon.

After her relapse, Janet Garcia was planning on leaving her younger son with a friend in Seattle, she told investigators. She claimed the friend agreed to take care of Ariel Garcia for a year while she was in drug treatment in Vancouver. The defendant wanted to leave Ariel Garcia with the boy’s grandmother, but she didn’t pick up her phone that day.

On March 25, two days before Ariel Garcia went missing, his grandmother filed for emergency guardianship of Janet Garcia’s two sons in Superior Court, citing her alcohol and drug abuse. She called the mother’s behavior “very violent and unpredictable,” according to court documents.

The following afternoon, a court commissioner approved a temporary emergency guardianship and restraining order. The order needed to be served within 48 hours.

Prior Facebook messages reveal Janet Garcia got into an argument with the grandmother because she took the defendant’s older son, 7, and did not permit her to see him, according to the charging papers.

Janet and Ariel Garcia were last seen around 7 a.m. Wednesday at an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Drive in Everett, police said. The mother and her son had been staying for a couple days at the apartment, which belongs to her ex-boyfriend’s mother.

At about 1:42 p.m., security footage showed the defendant’s Nissan stopped alongside the road near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, charges say. She got out of the car and retrieved something wrapped in a white blanket.

Janet Garcia walked into the forested area. She returned back to her car empty-handed, deputy prosecutors Martina Wong and Corinne Klein wrote in the charges.

Around 3 p.m. Janet texted the ex-boyfriend’s mother that Ariel Garcia had fallen and she was taking him to the hospital, according to charges. On another call, she told her mother she gave her son up for adoption and checked into a rehab facility in Ridgefield, Clark County, according to court papers.

Around 4 p.m., the boy’s grandmother came to the apartment with her son to serve her daughter with the court papers. She noticed a large amount of blood on the living room floor and called police.

Garcia also gave police a number for the friend who planned to watch the boy, but the number didn’t exist, according to police.

Around 6:15 p.m., Garcia was seen trespassing at a group home in Ridgefield, in southwest Washington, with blood stains on her clothes, according to charges.

Police there interviewed Garcia, who provided contradictory statements about where her son was, detectives wrote. At first, she reported not knowing where he was. She then said she dropped him off in either Seattle, Portland or at a hospital, charges say.

Clark County deputies took her into custody.

In an interview with investigators, Garcia gave several different accounts of what happened to her son, according to charges. When asked about the person who was supposed to watch Ariel Garcia, she said they met a couple years ago, but were not close.

“I don’t know her like that,” she reportedly told investigators.

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)

Garcia remained behind bars Friday in the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $5 million.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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