Breaking News Emails
A Detroit woman was charged with child abuse Wednesday after the bodies of her two children were found stuffed in a freezer the day before, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said.
Mitchelle Angela Blair, 35, is charged with four counts of first-degree child abuse and one count of committing first-degree child abuse in the presence of another child. She faces up to life in prison.
The children whose bodies were found were identified as Blair's 13-year-old daughter, Stoni Ann Blair, and her 9-year-old son, Stephen Gage Berry. If they were alive today, Stoni would be 15 and Stephen would have been 11, the prosecutors office said, but police have not said exactly when they believe the children died.
The bodies were discovered after officials arrived at the home about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday to conduct an eviction, police said.
Police say the mother confessed to killing her children. Autopsies are pending, and the causes of death for the two children have not yet been determined, Worthy said in a statement.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Detroit Police Chief James Craig declined to talk in detail about the grisly case because the investigation is ongoing.
Two other children, a 17-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son, were taken into protective custody, the prosecutor's office said. "They have been through a lot, as you can imagine — a tremendous trauma," Craig said Wednesday.
An earlier news release said a crew inside the home found the body of the girl first, and then her younger brother.
A resident of the apartment complex alerted police to the children's mother, who was at a separate location, authorities said.
"The alleged facts in this case present examples of why we must all be diligent and involved citizens. A good way to protect society's children is to be alert and look out … refuse to look the other way, and report what you know when necessary," Worthy said in a statement.
"Even though we are issuing these charges today, this tragic case remains under investigation," she said.
One neighbor told NBC station WDIV that the brother and sister used to play with her stepchildren, and she never noticed any signs of abuse. "I would have never expected this," neighbor Tori Childs said.
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