Detroit mom charged with abuse after children's bodies found in freezer

Detroit mother could face more charges after bodies of children, 9 and 13, found in freezer

A 35-year-old Detroit woman was charged Tuesday with first-degree child abuse, a little more than 24 hours after the bodies of two of her children were found in a large freezer in the basement of her home, officials said.

The children had been dead for at least two years, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

Mitchelle Angela Blair, 35, could face additional charges in the deaths of her teenage daughter and 9-year-old son once the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office determines how they died, prosecutors said.

That determination may take some time. Ryan Bridges, a spokesman for the medical examiner's office, said an autopsy was initially scheduled for Thursday morning, but because the children's bodies were "frozen solid," the examination may be delayed for several days.

A bailiff was trying to deliver an eviction notice at Blair's home on Detroit's east side when he made the gruesome discovery around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, police officials said. The children were found in what a police spokesman described as a "deep freezer" that resembled a large chest.

In a statement Tuesday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy identified the victims as Stoni Ann Blair, 13, and Stephen Gage Berry, 9.

Bridges said the medical examiner's office had not determined the identities of the children or when they died as of Wednesday afternoon. Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Maria Miller said information about the children's identities and when they died came from the police department, but declined to elaborate.

In the court filings charging Blair with child abuse, prosecutors list the date the offense was committed as Dec. 1, 2012.

Blair was found at another location and taken in for questioning on Monday afternoon, police said. She was formally arrested later in the day.

Blair also has a 17-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son who were living with her, and Worthy said the children have been placed in protective custody.

Blair, who was also charged with one count of committing child abuse in the presence of another child, could face up to 15 years in prison if she is convicted.

Calls to the medical examiner's office seeking comment were not returned.

The last post on a Facebook page believed to belong to Blair was written in January and reads, "There is no greater blessing than being a Mom." 

Blair is expected to appear in court Thursday.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

2:37 p.m.: This post updated with additional information about the pending autopsy.

2:20 p.m.: This post updated with additional information from court records and comments from a spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.

This post published at 1:39 p.m.

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