Ariel Garcia

A Washington woman pleaded not guilty Monday in connection with the March death of her 4-year-old son, Ariel Garcia.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Janet Garcia, 27, faces charges of first-degree murder, with aggravating factors of domestic violence and a vulnerable victim. She pleaded not guilty Monday morning at the Snohomish County Superior Court.

Ariel was last seen with a family member in March, leaving an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Drive in Everett. Police said at the time that they believed the boy to be in danger.

During the investigation, police found and seized a blue 2013 Nissan Sentra and arrested the defendant in Clark County.

Garcia allegedly told a convoluted story of going to a hospital but leaving before she was seen. She said she then dropped her son off with a friend in Seattle she contacted on Facebook, deleted the friend’s phone number and her own Facebook account, left her car behind, and took a bus to Ridgefield.

Investigators added that Garcia was found with blood on her clothing and acted “evasive and non-specific.”

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Probable cause documents indicate that investigators found blood inside Garcia’s apartment and a child’s bloody handprint. Police later found Ariel’s body dumped over a fence line with stab wounds on his back, chest, and stomach.

Court documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court and obtained by the Everett Herald revealed that less than 48 hours before he vanished, Ariel’s grandmother expressed concerns that his mother might attempt to flee with him.

The grandmother filed for emergency guardianship on Monday, citing his mother’s substance abuse issues, which made her prone to vanishing for extended periods without warning.

On Monday, Judge Cindy Larsen ordered Garcia to have no contact with her other child, a 7-year-old. She’s also not allowed to contact any minors, should she be released on bail, Seattle Times reports.

Garcia’s trial is scheduled for June 7. Check back for updates.

[Feature Photo: Ariel Garcia/Everett Police Department]

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