ST. LOUIS (AP) — The father of a 6-year-old girl whose body was found in an Illinois garage admitted killing her and concealing the body, according to a police report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Jason Quate, 34, and his wife are already charged with concealment of a homicidal death after remains were found June 6 in the garage behind a vacant and dilapidated home in Centreville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Homicide charges have not been filed. An investigation continues.
Police believe the child was killed in Belleville, Illinois, in 2013, when she was 6, and the body was hidden in the garage, where it remained for four years.
Quate was arrested last week in Las Vegas after his wife, Elizabeth Odell-Quate, 35, contacted police and told them where to find the child’s body. The family moved to Las Vegas from Belleville about two years ago.
Elizabeth Odell-Quate also told police that her husband forced her into sex trafficking. Las Vegas police removed the couple’s other two daughters, both in their early teens, alleging child abuse.
The police report cites a June 7 interview in which a detective wrote that Jason Quate “admitted to committing the crime and participated in the concealment of (Alysha’s) death.” It provided no additional elaboration on how Alysha died or when.
Quate told a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week that he was spanking his daughter and didn’t realize she had food in her mouth, causing her to choke to death. But earlier, in an interview with a Las Vegas TV station, he claimed his wife had told him the child had been put up for adoption.
Both parents are accused in Illinois with concealing Alysha’s body, a charge that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, if convicted.
Jason Quate also faces several charges in Nevada. He is jailed without bail pending a June 22 preliminary hearing on felony sex trafficking and living from the earnings of a prostitute charges.
His arraignment scheduled for Tuesday on a felony possession of child pornography charge was postponed until Friday to allow the state time to amend criminal complaints, said Samuel Martinez, a deputy Clark County district attorney.
He is also charged with child abuse. The police report alleges that he had sex with at least one of his daughters and that he beat the girls with plastic extension cords that investigators said left numerous scars.
The report said a doctor’s exam of one of the girls found physical signs of sexual abuse. Quate denied to investigators that he sexually abused the girls.
Katrina Ross, who represented Quate on the prostitution-related charge, said she expects him to plead not guilty to the Nevada charges. It wasn’t clear if Quate had an attorney for the concealment charge out of Illinois.
AP reporter Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
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