Mother of children found in Detroit freezer charged with murder, torture

Mother of children found in Detroit freezer charged with murder, torture

The mother of two Detroit children whose bodies were found in a basement freezer last month was formally charged Wednesday with two counts of murder, prosecutors said.

Mitchelle Angela Blair, 35, has been charged with felony murder, premeditated murder and torture in the deaths of Stoni Ann Blair, 13, and Stephen Gage Berry, 9, according to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy.

A court bailiff discovered the children's bodies while serving an eviction notice at Blair's east Detroit home on March 24. She was arrested a short time later.

Blair's 17-year-old daughter told child services investigators that her mother killed Stephen in August 2012 and Stoni Ann in May 2013, according to a court filing made public by the Michigan Attorney General's Office last week. 

The court filing said that Blair's four children suffered years of abuse at their mother's hands. Blair forced her oldest daughter to place Stoni Ann's body in the freezer, according to the court filing, which also suggested that Blair had confessed to the killings when confronted by Detroit Police.

The children for years were largely hidden from public view, according to the court document. They had not been to school in two years, and Blair allegedly prevented the children's biological fathers from visiting them.

Michigan Child Protective Services responded to allegations of abuse involving the family in 2002 and 2005, according to the document, and the allegations were substantiated. It was not clear why Blair was allowed to retain custody after those incidents.

Worthy said Wednesday that the case highlighted the need for people to alert authorities of any suspicious activity involving children in their neighborhoods.

"A good way to protect society's children is to be alert and look out or your neighborhood youth, refuse to look the other way, and report what you know when necessary," Worthy said in a statement. 

If convicted, Blair faces life in prison. She is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning.

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