Mom charged in death of 1-year-old daughter found in plastic bag after 2017 Markham fire

Ana Marie Townsend was not identified until two years after the blaze. Her mother, Melody Townsend, was brought back from California to Illinois, police said Thursday.

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Melody Townsend

Markham police

Criminal charges have been filed against the mother of a 1-year-old girl whose body was found in a plastic bag in the attic of her Markham home after a fire broke out nearly seven years ago.

Melody Townsend, 40, was brought back to Illinois from California, police said at a news conference Thursday. She was arrested on a warrant issued last summer that charged her with concealment of a homicide.

But Markham Police Chief Jack Genius told reporters that Townsend actually was facing charges of child endangerment and concealing and aiding a fugitive. He did not explain the discrepancy but said other charges could be filed.

Ana Marie Townsend’s body was found on July 3, 2017, at 155th and Hamlin in the south suburb. She was not identified until two years later through DNA tests. The Cook County medical examiner’s office has ruled her death a homicide.

While the office has not determined what caused her death, it noted the girl had suffered physical trauma unrelated to the fire.

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