MARYSVILLE, Wash. (NBC) -- A woman has been arrested after two sick children, one of whom died, were found in car in Marysville, Washington.
The crime scene inside the car was so dirty police had to wear hazmat suits to conduct their investigation.
Two children, who police say are sisters, were found in the car, one of them dead, another clinging to life.
"Our community is in grieving right now. Not only for the little one who continued her journey, but the parents. Anytime we lose somebody it just affects us so much," said tribal chairman Mel Sheldon.
Tribal leaders suspect this was a drug house of some sort, but what else was going on isn't clear.
The house sits among dilapidated homes with tin roofs and boarded up windows and was clearly no place for children.
"There's a lot of traffic that goes on at night, there's shady looking cars going back and forth, people parking up top and walking down at all times of the night," said neighbor Carmen Miller.
It all unfolded Monday night when the mother of the children called 911.
Medics arrived to find the 17-month-old child dead, and the 2 1/2-year-old unconscious.
Sources say it appears the children had been left alone for days.
Some who know the mother say she loved her kids.
"She was a loving mother and took care of her kids. I don't know the other side. Just the fact that it's really sad," said Rose Marie Alexander, the mother's friend.
The medical examiner is expected to release the cause of death for the 17-month-old child on Wednesday.
The 2 1/2-year-old child has been upgraded to stable condition.
The most serious thing on the mother's record was a DUI.
She was sentenced to 26 days in jail but never showed up to serve her sentence.
The U.S. Attorney's office will be conducting the prosecution of the case, which will start initially in Tribal Court, but no first court appearance has been set yet for the suspect/mother.