It was supposed to be a simple eviction. But as authorities scoured Mitchelle Blair's house, what they found ended up sending shockwaves through Detroit.
In 2015, 35-year-old Mitchelle Blair was living on the east side of Detroit with her four children when she was evicted for not paying rent. Relatives say she was unable to keep a job and would always call them for money, but those calls stopped when they refused to help and advised her to get a job and go back to school.
Mitchelle Blair apparently disregarded their advice because on the morning of March 24, 2015, she was served an eviction notice. But she wasn’t there. That’s when a crew from the 36th District Court went inside and began removing furniture from the home.
What they removed next wasn’t furniture. And it would send shockwaves through the community.
A Shocking Discovery
Inside a white deep freezer located in the living room of the home was the frozen body of a teenage girl wrapped in a large plastic bag. When police arrived, they made yet another discovery: the body of a boy right underneath her.
A neighbor didn’t waste any time disclosing Mitchelle Blair’s whereabouts. Police found her at another neighbor’s house with her two children, aged eight and 17, but her other children, Stephen Gage Berry and Stoni Ann Blair, were missing.
After some brief questioning, Mitchelle Blair was arrested for murder. When police took her away, she reportedly proclaimed, “I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, authorities took the bodies to a morgue to thaw for three days so an autopsy could be performed. The bodies were identified as Stephen Berry and Stoni Blair. The medical examiner ruled their deaths homicides and determined that they had been in the freezer for at least a couple of years.
The cause of death for both Stephen and Stoni was multiple blunt force traumas, according to WDIV Detroit. The medical examiner also ruled that “thermal injuries” contributed to Stephen’s death. It was determined that Stephen was killed in August 2012 at the age of nine and Stoni was killed in May 2013 at the age of 13.
The Murder Of Stephen Gage Berry
Mitchelle Blair confessed to the murders at the Wayne County Circuit Court. She told Judge Dana Hathaway that she killed her “demons” after finding out they were raping her youngest son – a claim that has never been substantiated.
Blair said she returned home one day in August 2012 to find her son simulating sexual activity using dolls. It was then Blair asked him, “Why are you doing that? Did anybody ever do this to you?”
When he told her that his brother Stephen had, she went upstairs to confront him. Blair said he confessed, and that’s when she began punching and kicking him before placing a garbage bag over his head until he lost consciousness.
Blair stated that she repeatedly poured scalding hot water on his genitals, causing his skin to peel off. She later made Stephen drink Windex and wrapped a belt around her son’s neck, lifted him up, and asked, “Do you like how this feels, choked with a belt?” Blair said he lost consciousness again.
“Blair lifted Stephen off the ground by holding onto the ends of the belt while the belt was still wrapped around Stephen’s neck,” said a petition to terminate Blair’s parental rights of her surviving children after she was arrested for murder, as reported by USA Today. “… Blair used ‘Force Flex’ bags to put over his nose and mouth, suffocating Stephen until he lost consciousness, and Blair then ‘slapped him awake.'”
After two weeks of torture, Stephen succumbed to his injuries on August 30, 2012. Mitchelle Blair put his body in her deep freezer, where vomit was found on and around his body.
The Murder Of Stoni Ann Blair
Nine months after murdering Stephen, Blair claimed she found out that Stoni was also raping her youngest son. That’s when she began starving Stoni and brutally beating her until she died in May 2013. She was going to turn herself into the police, she said, but when her youngest son told her that he didn’t want her to go, she made other arrangements.
“She was punched in the face ‘a lot,’ hit with a two-by-four, had her head covered with a garbage bag and was suffocated until she lost consciousness on at least one occasion,” according to the petition.
Mitchelle Blair put Stoni’s body in a plastic bag and stuffed her in the deep freezer on top of Stephen, and continued living in the home as if nothing were amiss.
Stephen Gage Berry and Stoni Ann Blair were in the deep freezer for almost three years, and no one looked for them. They had absentee fathers and Blair had previously taken them out of school. She told school officials that she was going to teach them at home. When neighbors asked about the children’s whereabouts, she always had an excuse.
Mitchelle Blair’s Conviction And Aftermath
Blair told the judge that she did “not feel any remorse over her actions. [They] had no remorse for what [they] did to my son. There was no other option. There’s no excuse for rape… I would kill them again.”
Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb stated that they found no evidence of rape, and Mitchelle’s oldest child, Gabi, said there was “no concrete evidence” that either of the children sexually assaulted their younger brother.
“My mom became obsessed with this crazy notion that my siblings had sexually assaulted our youngest brother, and she started basically interrogating the youngest,” Gabi Blair said in January 2023 when she spoke out about her horrifying childhood on the Investigation Discovery true crime show, Evil Lives Here.
Gabi claimed that her youngest brother only told Mitchelle about the alleged sexual assault after incessant questioning because “he didn’t know any better.”
“My mom was a ticking time bomb,” Gabi said. “She always had her fuse lit. So anything, the slightest tap, would set her off.”
Wayne County Circuit Judge Edward Joseph terminated Mitchelle Blair’s parental rights of the surviving children. Mitchelle even got into a shouting match with the biological father of Stoni and Gabi at the hearing.
“You was never there for Gabi and Stoni. But you want to hop on the news and act like you was,” Blair said. “He’s never given an [expletive] about my daughters. Never. Never. The whole crew here now, but you were never there for them. How many birthdays did you miss?”
Mitchelle Blair pleaded guilty in June 2015 to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder and is now serving a life sentence at the Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan without the possibility of parole.
“Everybody wants to know. Yes, I did kill her,” Blair shouted in court, according to KUTV.
Gabi, who testified against her mother, and her younger brother went to live with their aunt and uncle. They have since been in therapy to deal with the immense amount of trauma and abuse they faced at the hands of their mother.
“I was afraid to even walk by the freezer. Every time I came downstairs to eat breakfast or to play a video game, I had to walk right past the freezer,” Gabi said. “But there was nowhere else that my mom could hide the bodies. They were cooped up in a freezer like meat.”
Gabi said that her mother forced her to help cover the bodies and put them in the freezer. She also said that Mitchelle continued to abuse Gabi and her younger brother even after the deaths of Stephen and Stoni. Gabi said that her mother had beaten her with a curling iron and a wooden plank — and she was terrified she would be the next body in the freezer.
“Trying to live knowing that my brother is in the freezer was terrifying,” Gabi said. “I made sure to watch what I said around [my mother]. I already knew that one misstep and this is where I’d end up… I’m happy I was able to make it out alive.”
After learning about the crimes of Mitchelle Blair and the horrifying murder of Stoni Ann Blair And Stephen Gage Berry, read about these serial killers who thought nothing of murdering children. Then, watch a man who groped children at a party fall to his death trying to escape.