DETROIT (WWJ) – A 35-year-old Detroit woman has reportedly confessed to killing two of her children years ago and stuffing their bodies inside a freezer.
The bodies were discovered late Tuesday morning when a court officer attempted to serve an eviction notice at the Martin Luther King Apartments, in the 800 block of St. Aubin Street on the city’s east side.
A bailiff saw the body of girl, believed to be 13 years old when she died, inside a stand-alone freezer and called 911. When officers arrived on the scene, they found another body in the freezer, a boy believed to be 9 at the time of his death.
A tip from a neighbor led police to the children’s mother, identified in reports as Mitchelle Blair, who was found nearby and questioned. She was arrested later Tuesday.
According to reports, Blair confessed to killing both children after apparently discovering that they had molested a younger relative. She reportedly killed her son in May of 2012, and killed her daughter sometime around February 2013. The bodies were then apparently placed in plastic bags and stored in a freezer inside the apartment, where Blair continued to live with two other children, ages 11 and 17.
Those children, who were found at a neighbor’s home, are now in protective custody. Both were unharmed, but knew their dead siblings were inside the freezer, according to reports.
Before Blair allegedly confessed, “police say several neighbors and family friends say Blair had told them she killed her children,” according to a report by WJBK-TV. It is unclear if those people knew the children were being kept inside a freezer or if they made any prior attempt to notify police.
Autopsies are expected to be performed Thursday. However, authorities say the process could be delayed if the bodies are still frozen.
Blair remains in police custody. It’s unclear what charges she might face.
“Because a mother has a legal duty to care for her children, it would seem that child abuse or neglect charges would be appropriate,” said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. “But how these children died will determine whether murder, dismemberment of a body or possibly torture charges apply in the case. Of course, the murder charge carries with it the possibility of life in prison.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the case is being investigated as a double homicide.
“Because this continues to be an active homicide investigation I will not be discussing specifics,” Police Chief James Craig said during a press conference Wednesday. “Our homicide team continues to work diligently to bring some closure to both family and their friends.”
Craig said his department is awaiting autopsy results to determine the children’s causes of death before forwarding the case to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
“While I know all of you want all of the answers, we have an obligation to protect integrity of the case so that justice is served through the prosecutorial and judicial process,” said Craig. “And I would ask you to be mindful of the two children who are also in the home who are still alive. They’ve been through a lot, as you can imagine, a tremendous trauma. Please respect their privacy. They deserve at least that.”
Blair was apparently going through financial troubles and neighbors said she knew about the pending eviction. Court records show a judgment filed last month against Blair for $2,206 owed to the complex.
Blair’s children were apparently home-schooled, which is why she never drew the attention of Detroit Public Schools.
Ten-year-old E.J., who lives at the complex, said he was friends with the boy, named Stevie. The kids would play together all the time, E.J. said, but then Stevie stopped showing up.
“First they was my friend and then every day we used to ask her where they was at. She said they was in Georgia with her auntie or they was over their grandma’s house,” E.J. told WWJ’s Mike Campbell.
E.J. described his friend’s mother, Blair, as “normal.”
“She was a nice little lady. She gave me a hug ever day,” he said. “She was so overprotective of kids, like, I don’t know how she could do this.”
Jessy Porter, who lives next door to Blair, said she seemed like every other single mother, just trying to get by.
“I have sat in her dining room and we have talked, we’ve laughed and I never really, I didn’t see the side of her — everybody else saw a side of her that she was stressed out, but I didn’t see that. I saw a mother trying to make it with her kids. That’s who I saw,” she said.
Samantha Williams was also in disbelief hearing about her neighbor’s arrest.
“The person that I knew had a beautiful spirit,” she said. “I don’t know what happened that made things change, you know, but she was a good person. You know what I’m saying? I just, I don’t know.”
A Facebook page believed to belong to Blair declares that she’s, “Loyal to my babies.” A post she shared in January says: “There is no greater blessing than being called mom.”
Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact police at 313-596-2260 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.