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The Associated Press

TULALIP — State social workers closed a child neglect investigation on Oct. 8 just hours before two little girls were found in a car on the Tulalip Indian Reservation suffering from malnutrition and dehydration so severe that one of them died.

Records obtained by The Daily Herald show that the case was closed because social workers could not find the mother, Christina Carlson. The family had been living in the car on the reservation near Marysville.

The Snohomish County medical examiner’s office says year-and-a-half-old Chantel Craig died from parental neglect. Her 2-and-a-half-year-old sister was rushed to a hospital and survived.

Police said the girls were covered in waste and infested with fleas.

The 36-year-old mother has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in Tulalip Tribal Court.