Key witness describes finding bound 3-year-old dead

BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) – The prosecution’s key witness in the trial of a woman accused of leaving her 3-year-old foster son bound in a closet where he died described on Monday how they and the woman’s husband found the body after a weekend trip.

Liz Carroll and David Carroll Jr. are charged with murder in their foster son Marcus Fiesel’s death in August while they went to a family reunion in Kentucky, accompanied by David Carroll’s live-in girlfriend, Amy Baker.

Baker testified at Liz Carroll’s trial that the foster father ran up the steps to the house and went inside and screamed when the three returned to the home east of Cincinnati. David Carroll came back pale and whispered that the boy was dead, Baker said.

Baker and Liz Carroll ran into the house and saw Marcus’ body, which appeared stiff, she testified in Clermont County Common Pleas Court. Blood had dripped from his nose, Baker said.

Liz Carroll, 30, is charged with murder because prosecutors say she caused Marcus’ death, though unintentional, by leaving the developmentally disabled boy bound in a blanket and packing tape.

The defense has portrayed her as a compliant wife intimidated into going along with her bully husband and his live-in lover.

Baker, 25, testified that she had an affair with David Carroll, 29, and that Liz Carroll asked her to move in to their home because she wanted her husband to be happy.

The Carrolls have pleaded not guilty to murder, and the case has led to calls for reform in Ohio’s foster care system. David Carroll, also charged with gross abuse of a corpse, is set for trial March 19.

Prosecutors acknowledged a deal in which Baker would not be prosecuted in exchange for testimony, but told jurors that Baker will not get immunity if she had any hands-on involvement in Marcus’ death.

Baker testified that she wanted to call 911 after finding the body, but David Carroll wouldn’t let her because authorities would be able to tell that Marcus had been dead for a while.

David Carroll suggested burning the body, and Baker told him about an abandoned, outdoor chimney in a neighboring county.

He put the body in a box, and the two got three cans of gas and burned the body in the chimney in a rural area, she said.

Liz Carroll remained with the couple’s other children, and the two told her what they had done when they returned, Baker said.

Some small, charred bone fragments were recovered near the crumbling fireplace, but DNA tests were not conclusive. Baker also has taken officers to a bridge where she said the foster father threw the remains into the Ohio River.

The three discussed how to stage a disappearance, Baker said. They considered but ruled out trying to pretend he was missing at a Cincinnati Bengals game or at nearby Kings Island amusement park, she said.

Instead, Liz Carroll told authorities that Marcus wandered off or had been taken from a park, and hundreds of volunteers spent days combing the surrounding area.

Liz Carroll begged the public to continue looking even after authorities called off their search. By then, authorities say they had already begun investigating the Carrolls’ role in the boy’s disappearance.

The Carrolls had left Marcus bound up before to run errands, Baker said.

Prosecutors acknowledge that Marcus, who had been placed with the Carrolls three months before he died, was difficult to handle. He acted more like an 18-month-old child than a 3-year-old, and needed constant attention, they said.