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

DETROIT, MI — Murder and torture charges have been added to child abuse counts faced by the mother of two children found in a freezer last week. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Wednesday that Mitchelle Blair, 35, of Detroit now faces two counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder, — which carry mandatory life sentences, two counts of torture and four counts of first-degree child abuse. Worthy issued the child abuse charges last week after Blair was arrested. The new charges came after the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office determined blunt force trauma as a cause of death in both homicides.

The bodies of Stoni Blair, 13, and Stephen Berry, 9, were discovered inside a freezer when a court bailiff went at Blair’s St. Aubin Street apartment to execute an eviction on the morning of March 24. Blair has two other children, ages 17 and 8, who were placed in protective custody. The 17-year-old told authorities her brother died in August 2012 and her sister in May 2013.

She described years of alleged abuse by their mother, telling experts at Kids Talk — a child advocacy group that works with Wayne County to interview minors in abuse cases — that Blair tortured Stephen for two weeks prior to his death by tying a belt around his neck, throwing hot water on him while in the shower and putting a plastic bag over his head.