A 3-year-old boy was found lifeless after his own family locked him up so they can attend a family reunion without him.
Marcus Fiesel was born on June 24, 2003, and grew up in Middletown, Ohio with his mother, Donna Trevino, and two other siblings named Michael and Peaches.
Marcus was known to be “an awesome little guy” who enjoys simple things such as flowers, bubbles, and Bob the Builder.
Marcus was an autistic kid and attended a school for children with special needs. He was a very energetic kid who loves to play all the time, which made it hard for her mother to keep up. A neighbor said that she sometimes saw Donna weeping with tiredness.
If being a parent to a child with special needs was not tiring enough, the police authorities have also been receiving domestic violence reports about Donna’s boyfriend.
When the officers arrived at their house, they noticed a lot of negligence and saw that the place was infested with fleas and there were feces on the carpet. They saw that Marcus and his siblings were not well cared for at their home, and there were several incidents indicating that no one is looking after the children.
On April 22, 2006, Marcus was found roaming the streets and was almost hit by a car. Four months later, he crawled out of his second-story window and fell off causing a cut to his chin.
Donna admitted that “she didn’t know if she could take care of her children anymore and that it was becoming too much for her,” so she handed Marcus over to Butler County.
Lifeway for Youth, a private agency, put Marcus Fiesel in the care of foster parents, Liz and David Carroll. However, the agency was completely unaware of the situation of the Carolls.
Apparently, the couple has mental health issues that would automatically disqualify them from foster parenting. Their live-in lover, Amy Baker, also lived with them.
On August 15, 2006, Liz Carroll collapsed from a heart condition at a park in Hamilton County.When medics arrived, she told them that she was at the park with four children but when she regained her consciousness and only three of them were around.
The four children were: a child she had with David, another foster child, a toddler she was babysitting, and Marcus Fiesel.
“I was at the park with him and three other kids, playing on swings and slides, and have low blood pressure issues, collapsed, somehow sometimes, Marcus wandered off or was taken,” Liz said at the time. “I believe someone did take him, hopefully with good intentions.”
A week later, Liz was in tears when she held a news conference in the park asking for everyone to help her find his missing son.
“I need help from the public to help my son, Marcus is my son,” Liz said. “I know people think foster care is temporary, but please return him to a hospital… Waking up every morning and not having him run to me is very difficult, I am closer than his birth mother to him.”
After Liz’s statement, citizens had volunteered to help and search the park as well as the neighborhood for days.
“The whole town was turned upside down looking for this little kid,” said Joe Deters, Hamilton County Prosecutor.
After several days of searching for Marcus, he was still not found and that is where the police and public got suspicious of the Carroll’s.
To the world, Liz was a worried mother searching for her missing son but, she, David, and Amy already knew that Marcus was dead in their house by the closet they left him when they attended their family reunion. They were just planning to get rid of Marcus’ body.
On August 4, 2006, the three drove off to a family reunion in Williamstown, Kentucky. They took their own child and their dog but left Marcus tied with a blanket and packing tape in the closet. They came back on Sunday and found Marcus dead, with Liz confirmed the incident in her testimony on August 28, 2006.
After finding Marcus’ dead body, the foster parents didn’t bother to inform the police, instead, David and Amy took his body to a secluded place in Brown County where they burned the poor child’s body over a chimney.
Liz kept up with her story and insisted that they will never hurt Marcus, but the authorities have suspected her and David of Marcus’ disappearance. David also failed a lie detector test, but Liz still went on with her story anyway.
Family members and friends of the Carroll’s have claimed that David didn’t like Marcus and was jealous of his “constant need for attention from Liz and Amy Baker.”
There was also a time when he left Liz because he didn’t want a life with her raising her foster children.
The Carroll’s were held responsible for the ultimate recklessness of leaving 3-year-old Marcus to die.
The jury, who is made up of nine women and four men take up 4-6 hours and found Liz Carroll guilty of all charges on February 21, 2007, and was sentenced to 54 years life in prison on February 22, 2007.
During the trial, the prosecutor held up a photo of Marcus and then held up a cup and said: “What’s left of Marcus Fiesel would fit in this cup.”
“And who did it? She did it. And you know, they say you wouldn’t treat a dog like that,” the prosecutor said. “You know what? She wouldn’t. She took the dog with her.”
David Carroll pleaded guilty to murder and gross abuse of a corpse and the judge accepted his plea. David said that Amy tied Marcus, but he was also present at the scene. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Marcus Fiesel’s death was heartbreaking, no child should ever suffer like this, his death raised a lot of questions over the placement of foster children in the state of Ohio and everywhere. The agency that gave Marcus to Liz and David had their license withdrawn.
After Marcus’ death, state legislators, foster care workers, and child advocates have proposed 55 changes to Ohio’s foster care system.