Medical examiner: Detroit kids found in freezer died of blunt trauma, thermal injuries
Autopsies reveal cause of deaths for 2 Detroit children found in freezer
DETROIT – Autopsies on the bodies of two siblings found in a deep freezer in their east side Detroit home reveal they were killed by blunt force trauma and thermal injuries, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.
Authorities waited until Friday for the bodies of Stoni Ann Blair and Stephen Gage Berry to thaw enough to allow the medical examiner's office to determine how they died.
The medical examiner's office released this statement Friday afternoon:
"The medical examiner has determined the causes of death to be multiple blunt trauma and multiple blunt trauma and thermal injuries respectively. The manner for both children was determined to be homicide. Both bodies have been officially identified and the official times of death are listed as March 24, 2015 at 12:49 p.m. -- the time their bodies came into the medical examiner's possession."
They were found Tuesday by court officers conducting an eviction at their home. Authorities say they believe Stoni and Stephen died about two years ago, and that she was 13 and he was 9 when it happened.
-- Stephen and Stoni
Stephen's body was found wrapped in a blanket at the bottom of the freezer. Investigators believe he was scalded with hot water (thermal injury) before being beaten and strangled in August 2012. On top of his body was his sister's, which was covered with a plastic bag. A cloth was wrapped around her neck. She had scars on her face and shoulders. She appeared to have been beaten and strangled, too. It is believed she was killed in May 2013.
-- Mitchell Blair, the children's mother
Their mother Mitchelle Blair was arraigned Thursday on child abuse charges. Prosecutors say she could face murder charges once it's learned how the children died. She is being held on a $1 million bond.
Two other children are in protective custody.
A prayer vigil is planned Friday evening at the apartment complex.
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