The babysitter of a 2-year-old boy who was reported missing in early July is in custody and has been charged with the boy’s murder.
Tianna Parks, 24, also faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of corpse, and related offenses for her role in the death of King Hill, officials with the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the FBI said Monday.
Still, a host of questions remained unanswered even after Parks was arraigned and held without bail — including how and when she allegedly killed King, and why. He was first reported missing on July 8. His body has not been found.
At a news conference at Police Headquarters, officials said “virtually everything” Parks said during interviews with police was refuted by video and cell-phone evidence. They declined to offer specifics about what that evidence showed, or what Parks said when speaking to detectives.
But they said they were confident Parks is responsible for King’s death.
“We don’t right now have a mechanism of King Hill’s death, we don’t know the date of his death. We don’t know the location of his death, nor do we know the location of his body,” said Anthony Voci, homicide chief at the District Attorney’s Office. “But we know, based on the evidence that we have, that he was in fact killed by Ms. Parks.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called King’s death “especially devastating” given his age, saying the crime “has left the entire community shaken.”
Parks did not have an attorney listed in court documents Monday.
King’s mother, Amber Hill, said outside her Strawberry Mansion home Monday that her son had been “full of life” and a protector for his 7-year-old sister even though he was just a toddler.
She said she did not know Parks, and wasn’t sure why Parks might have killed her son.
“I’m not going to get closure,” she said through tears while seated on the porch.
Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said King’s stepfather filed a missing person report with police about two weeks after he dropped the toddler off with Parks, who often assisted him with caring for King.
The stepfather told police he’d spoken with Parks about King’s whereabouts, Smith said, and told police that Parks said she’d dropped King off at his mother’s house on July 7.
But Smith said the last confirmed sighting of King was actually on July 4 or 5.
The case was initially assigned to the Special Victims Unit, but later came to involve the FBI and ultimately the Homicide Unit, as authorities and community members searched for King.
Hill, King’s mother, said friends of Parks insulted her on social media as news of the search hit social media. She said the posts, which have since been deleted, were hurtful and deepened her sense of trauma.
An arrest warrant was issued Sunday, and Parks was taken into custody Monday morning.