The mother of two children found dead in a freezer in a Detroit apartment was charged today with felony child abuse while medical examiners try to determine whether the children were murdered, prosecutors said.
Medical examiners have not yet been able to perform autopsies on the frozen bodies but were planning to do so on Thursday. Additional charges could be brought once cause of death is established.
The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement that Mitchelle Angela Blair, 35, was charged with four counts of first degree child abuse, a felony that carries a 15-year prison sentence. She has also been charged with one count of child abuse in the presence of another child, which carries a potential life sentence.
The two children were identified as Blair's daughter, Stoni Ann Blair, and son Stephen Gage Berry, who were 13 and 9 years old when they died.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Maria Miller said investigators were still trying to determine when exactly the children died, but that they would be 15 and 11 years old now if they were still alive.
Blair's other children, a 17-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son, are in protective custody, the prosecutor's office said.
The bodies were found when a court officer and her crew were carrying out an eviction at the mother's apartment. Police tracked down the mother at another apartment in the complex.+
"A good way to protect society's children is to be alert and look out for your neighborhood youth, refuse to look the other way, and report what you know when necessary. Even though we are issuing these charges today, this tragic case remains under investigation," Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in the statement.