Funeral arrangements set for children found in freezer

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Funeral services for the two children whose bodies were found last week inside a freezer are set for April 13.

Ellis Funeral Home in Detroit is handling the arrangements for Stoni Blair, 13, and Stephen Berry, 8. A family hour is set for 10 a.m., with a funeral service at 11 a.m. at Greater Grace Church on 7 Mile Road.

The children’s mother, Mitchelle Blair, was arrested last week after 36th District bailiffs went to her townhouse in the Martin Luther King apartments to evict her, only to find the two bodies inside the freezer, which was kept near the front door.

More than $1,600 has been raised through a page created by Stoni’s family to cover funeral costs.

A Detroit police investigator’s report and a petition filed Thursday in Wayne County Juvenile Court, based on interviews with Blair and her two surviving children, ages 8 and 17, detail how the mother allegedly tortured her children by beating them with hot irons, wood planks and extension cords.

She also reportedly starved her daughter before strangling her to death, nine months after allegedly scalding and killing her son. According to the court petition, Blair forced her 17-year-old daughter to entomb her sister in the freezer, and the boy also was aware of his siblings’ bodies inside the freezer.

The children’s great-aunt Angela Gordon, a retired Detroit police child abuse investigator who is taking care of the two surviving children, said Tuesday the siblings are doing their best to get back to a normal routine.

Although court and police documents accuse Blair of killing her two children, she has been charged only with first-degree child abuse, a 15-year felony, and one count of committing child abuse first-degree in the presence of another child, a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Bond was set at $1 million.

“We are waiting for some further information from the medical examiner before we can determine any new charges,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said Monday.

Autopsies conducted Friday determined the children died from multiple blunt trauma wounds and burns, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, which declared their deaths homicides.

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