MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - Prosecutors plan to unearth the body of a young girl found dead outside her adoptive parents’ Sedro Woolley home.
On Wednesday, a judge in Mount Vernon granted a motion to exhume the remains of Hana Williams.
Investigators said the girl died last year from a combination of hypothermia and malnutrition brought on by abuse and starvation.
Her adoptive parents, Carri and Larry Williams, are charged with homicide by abuse.
For that charge, a victim must be younger than 16 years old.
The girl was adopted from Ethiopia and was believed to be 13 when she died.
But her adoptive parents’ defense said birth records from that country are not always reliable.
"The birth certificate is not what we think of in this country as a birth certificate. It's more of an arbitrary record,” said the Williams’ attorney Cassie Trueblood.
Carri Williams told the court she wants to be there when Hana Williams’ body is exhumed and later reburied, but prosecutors hope the information they gather will help them prove she killed the girl.
Prosecutors said they will test the maturity of Hana Williams’ molars and length of her arm and leg bones to determine her age.
The defense argued the science is not exact.
Prosecutors also charged the couple with manslaughter, which has no age limit. The couple is also charged with abusing their adopted son.
Prosecutors said they plan to exhume the girl’s body by the end of the year.