Prosecutors on Friday filed charges of concealing a homicidal death against both the father and the mother of a 6-year-old girl whose decomposed body was found in a Centreville garage.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly issued charges of concealing a homicidal death against Jason Quate, 34, and his wife, Elizabeth Quate, 35. Bond for both is set at $750,000.
Concealment of a homicidal death is a class 3 felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
No homicide charges had been issued in connection with the girl’s death as of Friday, but Kelly said the investigation was continuing.
The body of the 6-year-old, Alysha Quate, had been in a plastic container for a long time, so Kelly said the forensic analysis to determine the cause of death would take some time.
Alysha’s autopsy was Friday morning in St. Louis, but the results were inconclusive. St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr. said further tests need to be done because the child’s body was so badly decomposed.
Jason Quate was arrested Tuesday in Las Vegas and remained in custody Friday on charges of sex-trafficking, profiting from prostitution and child pornography. Elizabeth Quate was later arrested on a fugitive warrant stemming from an unrelated forgery case out of St. Clair County.
A Nevada judge ordered Friday that Jason Quate be held without bail on the sex-trafficking charges, which allege he prostituted his wife. He wasn’t asked to enter a plea, but his court-appointed attorney, Katrina Ross, said outside court that he’ll plead not guilty.
Elizabeth Quate went to a Las Vegas women’s shelter Monday night and told authorities her husband had been prostituting her. She told Las Vegas police they could find the body of her 6-year-old daughter in a detached garage in Centreville. Police found the girl’s body in the garage Tuesday morning.
Since then, police in Illinois and Nevada have been working to piece together what happened.
Police reports show that Elizabeth Quate told Las Vegas police her husband required her to earn $200-300 per night through prostitution to support their family. She accused her husband of killing the daughter, Alysha.
Jason 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.
Belleville police have said they believe Alysha was killed in 2013 in Belleville, and then her body was dumped in the Centreville garage. Kelly commended Belleville investigators’ work on the case, saying it hasn’t been an easy one to sort out, especially with the multiple jurisdictions involved.
“It can be pretty heavy for them, heavy in their hearts and in their souls,” Kelly said. “But we’ll do whatever it takes to pursue the evidence the law requires.”
A fund has been set up for burial expenses for 6-year-old Alysha. Anyone who would like to contribute to the fund can send a donation to National Bank of Greenville, The Burial Fund for Alysha Quate, 605 S. Third St., Greenville, IL 62246.
News-Democrat reporters Carolyn P. Smith, Kaley Johnson and Dana Rieck contributed to this report.