Community mourns 3-year-old found decomposing in freezer: 'We're supposed to protect them'

·3 min read
Detroit Police Chief James White talks with the media during a press conference on Monte Vista Street in Detroit where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer at the home on Friday, June 24, 2022. The 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.
Detroit Police Chief James White talks with the media during a press conference on Monte Vista Street in Detroit where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer at the home on Friday, June 24, 2022. The 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.

Officers found the body of a 3-year-old boy inside a freezer in the basement of a Detroit home early Friday morning, police said.

It's unclear how long the child was in the freezer, but Police Chief James White said the child's body had begun to decompose. Some neighbors said they hadn't seen the boy in months.

Neighbors placed stuffed animals on the front steps of the house, serving as a sentimental memorial.

Stuffed animals were placed by kids from across the street at the home where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer at the home on Monte Vista Street in Detroit on June 24, 2022.
A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.
Stuffed animals were placed by kids from across the street at the home where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer at the home on Monte Vista Street in Detroit on June 24, 2022. A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.

Police visited the home in the 12000 block of Monte Vista to conduct a welfare check after a Child Protective Services investigation.

"Initially, the conversation (with the mother) was to just push the officers away as if there was nothing going on," White said. "But their intuition, their experience led them to know that something was wrong — something just wasn't right."

The mother, 30, was taken into custody and the other children in the home were taken to the hospital;  Child Protective Services will help determine  next steps, White said.

She had five other children, and police said "there are a lot of concerns" about them based on what officers saw in the house.

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"They're all going to be suffering from some level of trauma," White said.

Police declined to reveal more about the case, but some neighbors indicated the mother had a boyfriend who lived with them, at least at one point.

Lynette Hardy who lives next to the home where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer at the home on Monte Vista Street in Detroit on Friday, June 24, 2022 talks with the media about the tragic situation. A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.
Lynette Hardy who lives next to the home where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer at the home on Monte Vista Street in Detroit on Friday, June 24, 2022 talks with the media about the tragic situation. A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.

One of their neighbors, Lynette Hardy, often helped care for the children. Hardy last talked to the mom on Saturday, she said, and nothing seemed suspicious.

The mother told Hardy the 3-year-old was in another state with relatives, Hardy said.

Hardy helped feed and clothe the children and said they were very loving but in dire need of attention and schooling.

"They didn't have anything," Hardy said. "In the winter. I saw them with summer clothes. ... Summer shoes, some had no shirts, and I just made it in my mind that I was going to help her because she needed help."

Will Ware lives a few houses down. He said his kids would play with the woman's kids sometimes, and he would wave if he saw her, but they didn't talk much. He was shocked when he found out what happened.

"I've heard about stuff like this, but never in my life did I imagine it would be this close," Ware said.

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A woman all too familiar with this situation drove over a couple of hours after the police left. A member of the Dorsey family, she said Stoni Blair was her first cousin once removed.

Blair, 13, was brutally murdered by her mom and found dead in a freezer in 2015.

"(To this day) my cousins are still just trying to cope with life," she said.

Through tears, she said this family should have asked for help.

"We're supposed to protect them."

A 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer in this home on Monte Vista street in Detroit on Friday on Friday, June 24, 2022.
A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.
A 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a freezer in this home on Monte Vista street in Detroit on Friday on Friday, June 24, 2022. A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody, by the Detroit Police Department.

Contact Emma Stein: estein@freepress.com and follow her on Twitter @_emmastein.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit community mourns 3-year-old boy found in freezer