She had been found Sunday evening walking aimlessly outside a drug store on Hollins Ferry Road.
Less than 12 hours later, police followed a tip to her home around the corner from where she was picked up.
"When officers checked the location, they did find the body of a deceased adult female,” said Cpl. John Wachter of the Baltimore County Police Department, “Our homicide unit is on scene conducting an investigation. Right now this investigation is classified as a death investigation."
Police have identified the woman as Brittany Jackson and the girl as her daughter, 3-year-old Jaycia Jackson. Neighbors say the two lived in the home with no gas, electricity or running water.
They claim Jackson had struggled with a drug addiction.
They can only speculate on what may have happened that sent the child walking out alone into the dark of night.
"Possibly she saw it and possibly the mother might have sent her for help and might have still been alive, but by the time they found the daughter and they found where the daughter lived or where they were living at, they more or less... it was too late," Jeanne Arevalo said.
Police say with no apparent signs of foul play, they've sent Jackson's body to the office of chief medical examiner to determine her cause of death, but neighbors say whatever happened---its impact on the 3-year-old is also of concern.
"It's hard to say... probably counseling,” Sid Arevalo said. “Maybe it's something she will never overcome. It's sad to say that with the blood on the child's clothing that I saw, she had to see the murder or she had to be near her mother dying or dead."
The young girl had no injuries, and she's now in the custody of Baltimore County Social Services.