- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Investigators dug in a Detroit backyard in the search for a 6-year-old and her infant brother, police said Thursday as authorities filed a first-degree murder charge against a man suspected in their mother’s death.

The decomposed body of Alicia Fox, 27, was discovered in a vacant Detroit house on Monday night with two gunshot wounds to the head.

Fox’s husband, Erin Justice, was arrested in the Atlanta area Wednesday and Detroit homicide investigators flew to Georgia Thursday morning to speak with him, Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters.

Justice was charged Thursday afternoon in Detroit. It was not known if he had a lawyer.

“We believe that he has information that can lead us to the children … but we’re not certain,” Craig said. “We are hopeful the children are alive. That’s our hope and our prayer that the children are alive.”

Police dug in the backyard of a vacant house on Detroit’s northwest side two or three homes away from the one Fox had shared with Justice; their 8-month-old, son Kristian Justice; and Fox’s daughter, Kaylah Hunter. Kaylah has a different father. Police said investigators stopped digging Wednesday night and are now hoping that tips from the public will help them find the siblings.

Fox is believed to have been shot in the family’s home sometime between May 25 and May 27, according to the Wayne County prosecutor’s office.

Justice flew to Atlanta several days ago and had been scheduled to fly back to Detroit. He was interviewed Tuesday by FBI agents in Atlanta.

“I have no idea why he was in Atlanta,” Craig said.

Justice refused Thursday to waive extradition from Georgia, said prosecutor’s spokeswoman Maria Miller, who added that the office has up to 30 days to file a warrant for a hearing to get Justice returned to Michigan.

Wayne County Circuit Court records show Justice pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon in 2008 and was sentenced to probation.

Fox’s relatives have told authorities they last saw the mother and her children on May 24. People living next door to Fox said that was about the time they saw a U-Haul truck outside Fox’s home.

Relatives searching for Fox received a tip and found her body in the basement of the vacant house about six miles from her home and called police.

Craig said blood was found at Fox’s home.

A 27-year-old man has been charged with being an accessory after the fact. The prosecutor’s office said he allegedly knew about Fox’s slaying. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

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