Neighbor remembers father of dead child found in garage
A judge ordered Friday that Jason Quate, the father of a girl whose decomposed body was found in a Centreville garage, be held without bail on Nevada charges of forcing his wife into prostitution.
Quate stood in shackles Friday and answered “Yes, sir,” when a judge asked if he understood he was charged with felony sex trafficking and living from the earnings of a prostitute.
Quate, 34, wasn’t asked to enter a plea, but his court-appointed attorney, Katrina Ross, said outside court that he will plead not guilty. Ross declined to comment about evidence in the case.
According to Las Vegas police reports obtained Friday by the News-Democrat, Quate’s wife told a detective that Quate required her to earn $200 to $300 per night through prostitution to support their family.
“She was to charge no less than $200 for sex,” Detective C. Hui of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote in the report.
Hui also wrote that Quate’s wife began working as a prostitute, at his urging, by meeting men at the Casino Queen casino in East St. Louis. After saving about $1,500 from two months of prostitution there, Jason Quate moved the family in January 2016 to Las Vegas, where he began scouting out casinos where his wife could make money as a prostitute, the detective wrote.
The woman told police she began working as a prostitute, at Jason Quate’s urging, by finding customers at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. After saving $1,500, Jason Quate moved the family to Las Vegas.
The woman has been telling Quate for the past year that she no longer wants to work as a prostitute, “and Jason would then beat her, he would also threaten to kill her,” the detective wrote.
The woman told detectives that Quate was abusive to her throughout her marriage and that there were “three separate incidents” reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. One report was made when the principal at a school saw that Quate “inappropriately kissed” one daughter, the detective wrote.
The Nevada judge ordered Quate to remain in jail without bail pending a June 22 preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to state court for trial. Convictions on both charges could result in up to 24 years in prison.
Meantime, an autopsy was conducted Friday morning in St. Louis on the decomposed body of 6-year-old Alysha Quate, found by police Tuesday in a vacant Centreville garage.
St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr. said the autopsy was inconclusive. He said the child’s death is “undetermined because further testing needs to be done due to the body of Alysha Quate being so badly decomposed.”
St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Danny Haskenhoff said an anthropologist from the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office was called in to assist with the autopsy, as was a St. Louis pathologist who regularly assists St. Clair investigators. Investigators said the child’s body was mummified.
Quate is also the subject of a Belleville police investigation into the girl’s death.
Las Vegas authorities also filed child pornography charges Friday against Jason Quate.
The child pornography charge sought by police alleges Quate possessed pornographic material depicting children under the age of 16. Additional details about the allegation were not immediately available from Nevada authorities.
Quate also faces a charge of child abuse in connection with the treatment of his two surviving teenage daughters, who were found in the Las Vegas home with injuries and signs of neglect, according to police.
The case unfolded Monday evening when Quate’s 35-year-old wife went to a Las Vegas women’s shelter and told authorities her husband had prostituted her for the past two years.
She also told them where they would find the body of her 6-year-old daughter in a Centreville garage at 7201 Russell Ave. Police searched the garage and found the body of the girl in a bin with cat litter.
Quate’s wife was being held Friday in a Las Vegas jail on a fugitive warrant stemming from an unrelated forgery case out of St. Clair County. Jail records showed she was being held pending a Monday court appearance as a fugitive on an out-of-state warrant.
She has previously been convicted of forgery, criminal trespassing and retail theft in Madison and St. Clair counties.
Belleville police have said they believe the girl was killed in 2013 in Belleville, and then her body was dumped in the Centreville garage. As of Friday morning, St. Clair County authorities had not filed any charges in connection with the death of the girl. But St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly has said his office is coordinating with local police and St. Clair County authorities.
Quate, in media interviews from jail, has given conflicting accounts about what happened to the girl. In one interview, he said he thought his wife had given the girl up for adoption. In a subsequent interview, he said the girl accidentally choked on a piece of steak.
News-Democrat reporters Carolyn P. Smith and Kara Berg and the Associated Press contributed to this report.