Siblings Knew about Dead Children
At her arraignment, Mitchelle Blair showed little emotion, and with the exception of repeatedly scratching her face, had little to contribute to the proceedings. Accused of torturing and then murdering two of her children, then storing their bodies in a freezer, Blair is looking at the possibility of a lifetime in prison.
Wayne County District Magistrate Renee R. McDuffee has set her conditional bond at one million dollars. This is due in part to the heinous nature of the crime, and also the fact that the prosecutor believes that she is a threat to the community and a possible flight risk.
Court records show that Blair’s surviving daughter, a 17-year-old who lived with her, has told horror stories of life in their home. According to her testimony, she and her surviving brother were beaten and burned with regularity. Both carry scars to corroborate their stories.
And both children knew about their dead siblings, lying just feet away for years in the freezer at the front door. According to the 17-year-old, she was forced by her mother to place her dead sister’s body in the freezer after Blair had murdered the girl.
The Michigan Department of Human Services is seeking to terminate Blair’s relationship to her two surviving children. A petition filed in the Wayne County Juvenile Court recently details the abuse and torture suffered by all four of her children and the possible murder of two of them.
The petition also seeks to terminate the parental rights of the two fathers of the surviving children, both of whom DHS claims are unfit to parent. Both fathers have had no contact with the children for years, and owe thousands in child support payments.
According to the surviving daughter’s recounting of events, Blair tortured then-9-year-old Steven Berry for weeks before his death. She allegedly tied a belt around his neck, threw hot water on him and put a plastic bag over his head.
But on the day that he was discovered, unresponsive, she apparently wrapped his body in a bed sheet and placed him in the freezer. Less than a year later, then-13-year-old Stoni Blair apparently told her mother she didn’t like her siblings. The results were horrendous.
Blair allegedly became enraged and proceeded to strangle Stoni with a T-shirt and then suffocate her with a plastic bag until she was dead. She then forced her older daughter to place the body into the freezer on top of the other frozen corpse. There the dead children remained, until discovered during eviction proceedings last week.
Blair 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 may also end up facing murder charges, but that will depend upon the results from the long-awaited autopsies.
She is scheduled for a probable cause hearing at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit on April 2, and for a preliminary exam on April 9th. She was not represented by an attorney at her arraignment and the court entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf.