Warning: This post discusses child abuse and may not be suitable for everyone.
March 24, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan…
Representatives from a housing authority arrived at a townhouse on the lower east side of Detroit rented by 35 year old Mitchelle Blair and her children. She owed $2,206 in rent and they were there to serve an eviction notice. When no one answered the door, they went inside and discovered that the house was filthy. They began to move Mitchelle and her family’s belongings out of the home. Then they opened a freezer in the living room and made a horrible discovery.
Inside was the body of Stoni Blair, Mitchelle’s daughter. She had been in the freezer since her death in 2013 when she was just 13 years old. The police were summoned and discovered the body of Stoni’s brother, 9 year old Stephen Berry, underneath her in the freezer.
Mitchelle was hiding nearby with her two surviving children (aged 17 and 6) and was apprehended by police. She went on to confess to a crime that few would believe a mother could commit.
Authorities had visited the home of Mitchelle and her children before in 2002 and 2005 to investigate reports of abuse to the children.
In her confession to police, Mitchelle said that she did not regret killing her children, who she referred to as demons, but did say that she had not meant to kill Stephen. She did recognize that her actions led to his death.
According to Mitchelle, in August 2012 Mitchelle’s youngest son told her that he was being sexually abused by his brother. She confronted Stephen about the abuse which allegedly included physical assaults. The 6 year old also told his mother that he was made to drink Windex.
Mitchelle’s oldest child told police that Mitchelle punished the 9 year old by putting plastic bags over his head until he lost consciousness, then slapping him until he woke up. She also wrapped a belt around the young boy’s neck and picked him up with it. He was made to drink Windex and boiling water was poured on his genitals. He appeared malnourished and he vomited shortly before his death.
Stephen was found dead in the home on August 20, 2012. Mitchelle wrapped him in his favorite blanket and put him in the freezer.
Stoni was killed on May 25, 2013.
After the bodies were discovered by police, they sat in the morgue for 3 days to defrost naturally. During the autopsy, it was found that Stoni had been hit repeatedly in the face and had evidence of being beaten with a 2×4. She had also been doused with boiling water and suffocated with a plastic bag.
Mitchelle told police that she had punished Stoni for sexually abusing her two younger brothers. She angered Mitchelle by telling her that she hated the 9 year old because he was cute and got all the attention. Stoni’s last breaths were taken as her mother tightened a black tshirt around her neck until she asphyxiated.
Mitchelle called the police sometime before she killed her two middle children. She said that she had a friend whose older children had sexually assaulted a younger child. She wanted to know what would happen to the perpetrators. When she realized that all the children would be taken from the home, Mitchelle ended the conversation with police without giving them any identifying information.
Mitchelle’s 17 year old testified to the abuse that took place in the home. She also stated that she and her 9 year old brother suffered abuse their entire life. Their mother never took them to the doctor because they were all covered in scars. She also testified that she was made to help her mother put Stoni in the freezer.
Before the discovery, neighbors had inquired as to the whereabouts of Mitchelle’s middle children. She would tell them that they were visiting their aunt or that they stayed upstairs because they didn’t like to be around people.
All of the children were home schooled by their mother. This is how Mitchelle was able to keep their murders hidden for so long.
Mitchelle continued to collect food stamps and Medicaid benefits for all four of her children until she was arrested.
Mitchelle told her lawyer she had reacted so violently to the reports of abuse because she had been sexually assaulted by a woman growing up. She told her mother about the abuse, but it was never reported. Mitchelle said that she would never allow her children to suffer sexual abuse the way that she did.
After the discovery of the bodies, Mitchelle’s surviving children went to live with their aunt, Angela Gordon, who (ironically) was a child abuse investigator for the Detroit Police Department before she retired after 26 years on the force. Angela claims that she was aware that there was some abuse happening in the home, but did not fully know the extent. She once told Mitchelle that she needed to be a better parent to her children and was cut off from the family after that.
In 2015, Mitchelle relinquished all rights to her surviving children. Her four children had two fathers. Stoni and the eldest child being fathered by Alexander Dorsey. Stephen and the youngest child’s father was Steven Berry.
The fathers of her children had their rights evaluated by the court. Neither father had played an active role in raising their children and were tens of thousands of dollars behind in child support.
During Alexander’s hearing, Mitchelle verbally attacked him. She said that he was an alcoholic that never cared for his children and that he didn’t deserve rights. She had to be removed from the courtroom.
Alexander’s rights were revoked by the court, possibly because his oldest daughter had, by then, graduated high school and would be eligible for two years of college and continuing mental health treatment under the care of the state if she was considered an orphan.
Steven’s rights were upheld and he stated that he wanted to take the opportunity to build a relationship with his son. Stephen has since been adopted, but the identities of the adoptive family have been sealed.
Mitchelle has been segregated from the general population while in prison due to her behavior. It has been reported that she has thrown urine at guards through her food door and assault charges were filed against her by another inmate when Mitchelle spit on her. She has also assaulted other prisoners and guards and threatened to kill again.
Mitchelle’s full confession can be seen here:
Mitchelle will spend the rest of her life in prison for first-degree and felony murder. (First degree murder is murder with intent and planning. Felony murder is a murder that occurs as the result of or during the commission of another crime. In this case, that crime was first degree child abuse.) She told the judge that she would have requested the death penalty had it been an option in the state of Michigan.
A video summary of this week’s post can be found at
Mitchelle in court-https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2015/06/29/detroit-mom-freezer-bodies-case-pleads-guilty/29459253/
Mitchelle in court (2)-https://lasentinel.net/detroit-mom-says-she-wants-to-plead-guilty-to-killing-2-kids.html
Alexander Dorsey and Steven Berry-http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2015/04/more_information_revealed_abou.html