Woman accused of killing, dumping daughter on Christmas Eve

Posted at 11:09 AM, December 27, 2023

PHOENIX (Scripps News Phoenix) — Phoenix police say a woman is accused of killing her daughter and putting the body in a dumpster on Christmas Eve.

Booking photo of Sophia Simmons

Sophia Simmons is accused of killing her daughter on Christmas Eve. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

At around 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 24, officers responded to the area of 31st and Grand avenues regarding a body that was found in a dumpster near a business. Officers determined the body was that of a “school-aged” girl.

A tip was received on Monday that 38-year-old Sophia Simmons placed the child’s body in a dumpster and that the child may have died from injuries during an assault by the suspect.

According to court documents, a witness was looking through a dumpster for firewood when they saw a storage tote with the lid partially opened. When the witness looked inside they reportedly saw a child’s body.

The witness alerted a nearby security guard who helped call the police. When Phoenix police officers and an official with the Medical Examiner’s Office arrived at the scene, they located the body of a girl believed to be between 5 and 7 years old.

The girl’s body appeared to have injuries to the legs, arms and torso, according to court documents. It also appeared to investigators that some of the wounds were in multiple stages of healing and there were scars from previous injuries.

On December 25, a witness in New York reported to police that they received a phone call from Simmons who claimed she had “beaten her child and it went too far.” The witness claims Simmons told her she left the house after beating the victim and when she returned the victim was not breathing.

According to the police report, Simmons remained with the victim’s body for the next five days before taking it to a dumpster where it was later found on December 24.

Detectives secured a search warrant for Simmons’ home near 51st Avenue and McDowell Road and found evidence of someone trying to clean a crime scene. At that time, Simmons was not home.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for Simmons’ phone records and learned her device was near Indio, California, and was headed back toward Arizona. Records state she was later stopped outside of Phoenix, near 411th Avenue and Interstate 10, and was taken to Phoenix Police Headquarters.

A review of her phone records showed Simmons’ device was in the area of the dumpster where the victim was found at around 10:30 a.m. on December 24.

She was booked into jail on multiple charges including first-degree murder, child abuse, and tampering with evidence.

According to an attorney during the initial court appearance, Simmons was involved in a prior case in another state involving a child, though details of that investigation were not immediately known.

The investigation is ongoing.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Phoenix, an E.W. Scripps Company.