Michigan mother charged in stabbing death of 3-year-old daughter, stuffing body in trash bag

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OSCODA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A horrific crime story out of Michigan has been revealed as the mother of a 3-year-old girl is charged with the child’s murder.

Someone reported seeing a human foot protruding from a garbage bag at a home in Oscoda Township last week. Responding officers made a grim discovery. They found a dead three-year-old child, ABC 12 reported.

The child’s mother, Justine Marie Johnson, 22, was arraigned and is facing two criminal charges, including murder and first-degree child abuse. She is being held on no bond for a crime that has shaken the entire community, according to the news outlet.

According to a press release from the Iosco County Prosecutor’s Office, a person called the Osconda Township Police Department early on Friday, Sept. 17, regarding a human foot sticking out of “a trash bag inside the residence,” located on Cedar Lake Road.

Officers responded to the home and discovered the body of a 3-year-old girl inside of the garbage bag. Prosecutors say the child had “suffered multiple stab wounds to her torso,” which police believe to be the cause of death, although a report from a county medical examiner is pending, Law & Crime reported.

A police affidavit obtained by ABC 12 indicates that one of Johnson’s brothers inquired about the little girl’s whereabouts on Thursday, the day before the body was discovered. Johnson reportedly told him to “mind his business.”

The brother was in Johnson’s residence early Friday morning when he came across a black garbage bag with a child’s foot sticking out of it. As a result, he called 911 about 4 a.m.

The mother was not home when officers first made the discovery. They reportedly found her more than four hours later walking on railroad tracks in the township.

When questioned by officers, Johnson reportedly said she did not want to discuss the topic.

“I’ve been here a long time and this is the first time I heard of something like this since the 70s,” said Martin Gayeski, the owner of a laundromat located across the street from Johnson’s home, according to ABC 12. He said detectives asked him to provide copies of his security camera footage for their investigation.

“She was a customer here. I knew who she was. It shocked me because she didn’t seem to be that kind of a person,” Gayeski said. “It’s unusual to have something like this in a town like this. This is a close knit community.”

Johnson was arraigned Monday. She pleaded not guilty to both charges. If convicted she faces the potential of life in prison. She is currently being held at the Iosco County Jail without bond.

Johnson has a probable cause hearing scheduled for Sept. 29.


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