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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Liz Carroll left her foster child locked in a closet, bound with a blanket and packing tape, while she attended a weekend family reunion
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 6, 2006
Date of arrest: August 28, 2006
Date of birth: March 24, 1976
Victim profile: Marcus Fiesel (her 3-year-old foster child)
Method of murder: Fiesel was left without food or water, but authorities believed he was killed by heat rather than dehydration or starvation, as temperatures in the closet may have reached 105-110°F
Location: Union Township, Clermont County, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to 54 years to life in prison on February 22, 2007
photo gallery

Marcus Fiesel was an American foster care child murder victim. On February 21, 2007 his foster mother Liz Carroll was convicted of murdering him. On February 26, 2007, it was announced attorneys for his foster father, David Carroll had reached a plea agreement.

Life with mother

Fiesel spent the first three years of his life with his mother Donna Trevino (née Fiesel) and his two siblings, Michael and Peaches, in Middletown, Ohio. He was described by a neighbor as "an awesome little guy" who loved flowers, Bob the Builder, and bubbles. According to friends, he was autistic and attended a school for special needs children.

Fiesel was a very active child, and his mother found it difficult to cope with him. A neighbor said she occasionally saw Trevino weeping with exhaustion.

Trevino also was suffering from domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend, which led to frequent calls to the police. During these visits, police officers noticed that the home was infested with fleas and reeked of feces.

On September 29, 2005, police observed severe bruising on Fiesel's left buttock. The family was also being investigated by child welfare workers, who had received complaints of abuse.

In January 2006, Fiesel crawled out of his second-story window and fell off the roof, resulting in a cut to his chin that required stitches.

In April 2006, Fiesel was found wandering the streets and was almost hit by a car. Trevino told police that "she didn't know if she could care for her children any more and that it was getting to be too much for her." She handed them over to Butler County.

Foster care

Lifeway for Youth, a private agency contracted by the state foster care system, placed Fiesel in the care of foster parents Liz and David Carroll. At the time, they did not realize that David Carroll had bipolar disorder and that a third adult, Amy Baker, said to be David and Liz Carroll's girlfriend, was living in the home. David Carroll's psychological condition would have disqualified him as a foster parent if known. In June 2006, David Carroll was arrested on a domestic violence charge that was later dismissed. He did not report the arrest to Lifeway, as required.

Family and friends said that David Carroll did not like Fiesel and was jealous of his "constant" need for attention from Liz Carroll and Baker. At one point he left his wife because he wasn't sure he wanted a life with her raising foster children. When he moved back in with his wife, he brought Baker with him.


Liz Carroll reported that Fiesel had gone missing on August 15, 2006. She said that she had been at Juilf's Park in Anderson Township with four children (a child she had with David Carroll, another foster child, a toddler she was babysitting, and Fiesel) when she blacked out due to low blood pressure. She said when she regained consciousness, Fiesel was missing.

Hundreds of people, and search dogs, searched the area as part of the official search for Fiesel. Thousands more searched surrounding neighborhoods independent of the official search.

On August 22, 2006, Liz Carroll held a press conference asking that whoever may have taken Fiesel return him. She said, "I need help from the public to help my son, Marcus is my son. 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."

Because no witnesses reported seeing Fiesel in the park with Liz Carroll on August 15, and no trace of him was found, police and the public grew suspicious of Liz and David Carroll's claims.

Discovery of Fiesel's death

Fiesel's incinerated remains were discovered on an 88-acre (360,000 m2) estate owned by Mike Cales in Brown County, Ohio. Police said that Liz and David Carroll had left Fiesel locked in a closet, bound with a blanket and packing tape, while they attended a family reunion in Williamstown, Kentucky August 4-August 6, 2006. This was confirmed by Liz Carroll in testimony before a grand jury on August 28, 2006; she claimed, "I didn't have any intentions of hurting him."

Fiesel was left without food or water, but authorities believed he was killed by heat rather than dehydration or starvation, as temperatures in the closet may have reached 105-110°F. They found him dead when they returned home. Authorities believed it was David Carroll and Amy Baker who incinerated Fiesel's body. Amy Baker was granted immunity in Ohio in return for testimony, but is currently facing extradition from Ohio to Kentucky for a Tampering with Evidence charge against her brought up by Mason County, Kentucky. Amy Baker confessed to helping to dispose of the body in the Ohio River. The charges against her have now been dropped.

Charges against Liz and David Carroll

Liz and David Carroll are the prime suspects in Fiesel's death. Both Liz and David Carroll were indicted in Clermont County, Ohio and Hamilton County, Ohio for playing a part in Fiesel's death and hindering the police investigation into Fiesel's disappearance.

On August 28, 2006 Liz and David Carroll were indicted by a Hamilton County Grand Jury on two counts of child endangerment, and one count of involuntary manslaughter. David Carroll was charged with an additional count of gross abuse of a corpse.

A day later on 29 August, 2006 additional Hamilton County indictments were made against the Carrolls. Both David and Liz were charged on one count of making false alarms, and one count of inducing panic. Furthermore, David was charged with one count of gross abuse of a corpse. Liz was charged with two additional charges of perjury.

On 1 September, 2006 Clermont County Prosecutor Don White and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters held a joint press conference, where they discussed plans for prosecuting the defendants. All murder and/or homicide charges were to be prosecuted by Clermont County, since Fiesel's death occurred inside the Carroll's Union Township home. However, since State of Ohio contends the Carrolls attempted to cover up Fiesel's death in Anderson Township, Hamilton County, Ohio all charges related to inducing panic and covering up the death of the child would be prosecuted in Hamilton County.

Several days later on Wednesday September 6, 2006 a Clermont County grand jury indicted David Carroll on eight criminal counts. The charges against the Carrolls included: murder (1 count each), involuntary manslaughter (1 count each), kidnapping (1 count each), felonious assault (1 count each), endangering children (3 counts each). David Carroll was also charged with one count of gross abuse of a corpse.


Liz Carroll was found guilty of all charges on February 21, 2007. The jury, made up of nine women and four men, deliberated for 4-6 hours. The trial lasted for 10 days beginning on February 12, 2007 and ending on February 21, 2007. Her lawyer Gregory A. Cohen has promised to appeal. The appeal is also over a report that a juror reportedly said in an interview that she "knew in her heart Liz Carroll was guilty".

During closing comments the assistant prosecutor Daniel Breyer said "They say you wouldn't treat a dog like that, and you know what? She [Liz] wouldn't! She took the dog with her. She took the dog with her." He referred to the Carrolls taking their dog with them to their family reunion, but leaving Fiesel at home. After the assistant prosecutor's closing remarks Liz Carroll said: "The dog was alive!"

She was sentenced to 54 years to life on February 22, 2007.

After accepting a plea deal, David Carroll pleaded guilty to murder and gross abuse of a corpse. The judge accepted his plea, and sentenced Carroll to 16 years to life in prison. Carroll said that Amy Baker bound Fiesel, but he admitted he was present.

On Friday, April 20, 2007, the Commonwealth of Kentucky charged Amy Baker with Tampering with Evidence. Prosecutors in Kentucky claim that the immunity she was given was only with the state of Ohio and Kentucky has jurisdiction over the Ohio river. She waived extradition and is currently defending charges brought against her in Kentucky, which carry a maximum five-year sentence. Her attorneys are currently moving both to dismiss all charges against her and to suppress all testimony given by her in the prosecutions of Liz and David Carroll and are alleging that the Kentucky prosecutor promised Ohio prosecutors to give Amy Baker immunity in Kentucky as well. Her trial was set for November 7, 2007, in Maysville, Kentucky. Her charges were then dropped in early 2008.


On Saturday, April 21, 2007, the chimney which was used to burn Fiesel's remains was demolished and turned into a memorial to him in a peaceful setting.

Hanlon Park-Georgetown, OH, a Bench was dedicated to his memory on what would have been his 4th birthday, June 24, 2007.

Effects on foster care in Ohio

The case of Fiesel's death has led to many questions over the placement of foster children within the state of Ohio and elsewhere. Lifeway, the agency that placed Fiesel with the Carrolls, had its license revoked. Several bills have been put before the United States Congress and investigations continue into why Fiesel was placed with the Carrolls. Many placement organizations have since modified their procedures and intensified their background screening for potential foster parents. In all, state legislators, foster care workers, and child advocates have recommended 55 changes to Ohio's foster care system.


Liz Carroll breaks silence on foster son's death

Woman denies involvement in slaying

By Brian Hamrick

July 10, 2012

Liz Carroll was a suburban housewife, a former homecoming queen. She now makes her home behind the razor wire of Marysville prison, where she's serving a 54-year sentence for the murder of her autistic foster child, Marcus Fiesel.

For the first time since she was convicted, Carroll is talking about what happened in August 2006, why she lied then and why she says she has proof that she's telling the truth now.

Inside the walls at Marysville, the facility looks more a retirement home than a prison. News 5 met with Carroll in a small conference room. She said she wants the truth to come out about what really happened to her foster son, who was 3 years old at the time of his death. She apologized for lying when she told police and the public that Marcus had disappeared at Juilfs Park. She stood in front of cameras then and pleaded for help finding him. Now she tears up talking about that day.

"I just want to say I'm sorry for that," Carroll said. "I am. I have so much guilt for that. I'm really sorry. I carried so much guilt for that because I am guilty for lying to people – my family, my kids. I lied to my kids."

She was convicted of helping her husband, David Carroll, kill the boy by duct-taping him in a blanket and leaving him in a hot closet as the rest of the family went to a reunion in Williamstown, Ky.

The star witness for the prosecution was Amy Baker, who lived with the Carrolls. She testified that the couple didn't want to take Marcus to the reunion and decided to tape him up and leave him in the closet while they were gone, but after heading to Williamstown, David Carroll had second thoughts, and they returned home to find the boy dead.

Baker admitted that she went with David Carroll to a remote area in Brown County to burn the body and then dumped his remains in the Ohio River. Only a few pieces of Marcus' bones were found.

During the trial, Clermont County Assistant Prosecutor Woody Breyer held up a photo of the boy, telling jurors that this was Marcus, and then showed them a small cup holding the only remains found and said this is what's left of him.

But Liz Carroll's story is dramatically different.

"I wasn't there, first of all, when Marcus died," she said. "When I left, he was alive."

She claims she went to run errands in the morning, and when she returned home she said her husband told her Marcus was dead.

Liz Carroll claims she started to call 911 but was confronted by Baker.

"I was going across the room to get the phone, and she pushed me across into my bathroom," Liz Carroll said. Baker threatened to kill her and kids if she told police what really happened, she said.

Liz Carroll said her husband told her how the boy died, and her story was consistent with the version David Carroll told in a February 2008 interview.

"Amy and I wanted to have sex," David Carroll previously told News 5. "Amy said, 'Put the kids outside, (and) I'll put Marcus down for a nap.'"

After Liz Carroll's trial, David Carroll pleaded guilty and is serving a minimum of 16 years.

"What I really, really have a problem with is that my wife wasn't even home when any of this occurred," he said from prison.

The trio spent days trying to come up with a plausible story about how Marcus disappeared. They considered saying they lost him at Kings Island or that he disappeared at a fair. Liz Caroll claims they were "trying to figure out how we were going to come up with a story about how he was missing and who was going to be the one."

She said she was eventually the "one" who "lost" the boy at Juilfs Park.

Liz Carroll said she now has proof that she is telling the truth this time.

She has no appeals left in any county or federal court, but she's hoping an attorney will take an interest in her case and somehow help her to get a new trial.

She visits with her children once a month and spends most of the rest of her time knitting hats and blankets for charity. She is still married to David Carroll, and they communicate by mail.

Liz Carroll has seen Amy Baker since being incarcerated. Baker was convicted on a drug charge and sent briefly to Marysville.

"She would step out of line and smile and toss her hair and smirk at me," Carroll said.

Carroll said Baker went back to their home after the she was charged with murder.

"She went into my house after I was arrested and took some of my stuff, including my clothes," Carroll said. "She wore my clothes at my trial."

Carroll also denies that she was romantically involved with Baker.

"She wasn't my girlfriend; I don't know why people keep saying that, (because) she wasn't my girlfriend," Carroll said. "She and Dave had an affair, (but) it wasn't my girlfriend. She was not my live-in girlfriend."

But she admits to engaging in sexual relations with Baker at her husband's urging.

"I'm not going to lie," Carroll said. "I did a couple of times for my husband, I'm not going to lie. I did try it, (and) it disgusted me."

Liz Carroll said she wanted to testify during her trial, but her attorney, Greg Cohen, kept her from doing so.

Although she denies responsibility for her foster son's death, she admits she brought much of her legal troubles on herself.

"I blame myself for my lies, because my lies are what got me in everything," Carroll said. "Even with (Baker's) threats I still had the opportunity to tell the truth several times, but she did go on the stand and lie, and even had the nerve to smile at me and wear my clothes at my trial."

Carroll said she's passed a polygraph test with specific questions about the murder, and she offers that as proof that she didn't kill Marcus.

"The prosecutors should not be happy at all, the public should not be happy," Carroll said. "The public wanted justice. They still haven't gotten justice."


Young boy’s death at hands of foster parents led to change

Marcus Fiesel was killed five years ago, prompting overhaul of child welfare system

By Michael D. Pitman -

August 7, 2011

It’s been five years since the death of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel at the hands of his foster parents that captured the attention of the region, state and nation, sent two people to prison for the rest of their lives and led to a child welfare system overhaul.

Marcus, the Middletown boy with an impish grin, would have turned 8 in June. Instead of marking another birthday, he will be remembered for his horrific death.

The developmentally disabled boy was bound in a blanket wrapped with duct tape and placed in a playpen inside an upstairs closet while Liz and David Carroll Jr., live-in girlfriend Amy Baker, their children and foster children, and even the family dog, traveled to an August family reunion in Kentucky during the hottest days of the year.

“I’d like to think the laws that have changed in his memory have been beneficial in the fact that we haven’t had any other child have the same fate that he did,” said Gary Cates, a former state senator from West Chester Twp. “If that’s his legacy, that no other child’s been harmed, then that’s a tremendous legacy that Marcus left other children.”

Both Liz and David Carroll declined interview requests from prison.

Marcus’ death during the weekend of Aug. 4-6, 2006, in the closet of the Carrolls’ Union Twp. home in Clermont County placed a giant spotlight on some gaping holes in the child welfare system and led private foster placement agency, the former Lifeway for Youth, from operating in the state.

While his death was the breaking point to prompt reform in Ohio’s foster care and children services system, other children died while under the charge of Butler County Children Services: Tiffany Hubbard, 3, of Hamilton in 1986; Randi Fuller, 2, of Hamilton, in 2000; Christopher Long, 2, of Middletown, in 2001; Courtney Centers, 3, of Middletown in 2002; Jesus Rodriquez, 7 months, of Hamilton in 2003; and Justin Johnson, 13 months, of Middletown in 2004.

Marcus’ hurdles

Born on June 24, 2003, Marcus had many obstacles from the start. He was born with a developmental disability — though not specifically diagnosed, he had “global delays” and needed 24-hour care and attention.

Marcus slept on a foam mat at the home of his biological mother, Donna Trevino, and he and his siblings were not closely watched or cared for. Butler County Children Services became involved with the family in Aug. 9, 2004.

When Marcus was found wandering the streets on April 22, 2006, almost being hit by a car — roughly four months after he accidentally fell out of a second-story window — caseworkers removed Trevino’s three children from her home, where reports showed there was feces on the carpet and wall of the flea-infested home. This was the third time her children had been taken from her care.

The day Marcus went ‘missing’

The public story of Marcus’ disappearance began on Aug. 15, 2006, after Liz Carroll collapsed from an apparent heart condition at an Anderson Twp. park in Hamilton County. When medics responded, she told them she brought four children to the park, but only three were present. This sparked a massive three-day search by hundreds of volunteers, law enforcement and search and rescue teams.

“I still have nightmares about that little guy,” said Jann Heffner, then director of Butler County Children Services. “You don’t get into this business unless you care about the care and physical well being of a child.”

She and some of her staff, including Marcus’ caseworker Joe Beumer went out immediately to search for the child.

Beumer was in “shock and disbelief” but said the story of his disappearance “wasn’t adding up.” He doubted Marcus would have run off — even though that would be something he would do, when his foster mother collapsed. “Any child that experiences something like that I think their natural instinct would be to stay with that person that’s hurt,” he said, “even if they couldn’t do anything they would just sit there.”

Worry quickly turned into horror at the end of August 2006 when the Carrolls were charged with murder.

The case

Not many things hang on the walls in Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters’ office, but a drawing of Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Jim Borgman of Marcus holding hands with God walking toward heaven has a special place.

“To this day it just chills me that someone could do that to a little baby. They are where they belong and they will have to answer to God,” Deters said.

Deters had prosecuted the case before it was moved over to Clermont County since Marcus died in the Carrolls’ home. He said he thinks about the 3-year-old boy “all the time.”

“The inhumanity of how they treated him, it boggles my mind when you’ve got children,” he said.

The story of Marcus’ disappearance unraveled at Liz Carroll’s televised news conference, which Deters watched from his office. “It was rehearsed and came off very untruthful,” he said.

He immediately brought in Liz Carroll and Amy Baker (who now goes by Amy Ramsey) before a county grand jury. He talked to Baker first, and with her attorney present, said “if she was not truthful, she’ll go to prison.” After consulting with her attorney — who Deters said was ghostly pale after the attorney-client conversation — Baker admitted what happened to Marcus.

“It was disgusting,” Deters said of her testimony.

She revealed Marcus had been dead for days before the disappearance hoax at the park, and that she helped David Carroll burn the boy’s body in rural Brown County and throw the rest of his remains in the Ohio River.

Following a jury trial in February 2007, Liz Carroll was convicted of charges including murder and sentenced to 54 years to life in prison; her husband later was sentenced to 16 years to life as part of a plea deal.

The aftermath

An Ohio Department of Job and Family Services investigation pointed blame at Lifeway for Youth, the New Carlisle, Ohio-based foster care provider that placed Marcus with the Carrolls.

For reasons that include and extend beyond Marcus’ case, ODJFS later pulled Lifeway’s operational certificate, a decision upheld by a Franklin County judge.

Although investigations determined that Butler County Children Services did nothing wrong, Heffner was moved into a consulting role and then fired by the county commissioners. The Butler County Children Services Board — initially formed in the wake of 3-year-old Tiffany Hubbard’s abuse and death in 1986 at the hands of her biological father — was disbanded.

The Rev. Johnny Wade Sloan, chairman of the 11-member board, didn’t agree or see the reason to disband the board.

“(The Carrolls) promised 24-hour adult supervision and there was no reason for us not to place (the kids) when (Lifeway was) telling us, as a licensed agency, they had an ideal place,” he said.

But Sloan and Heffner said the decisions to disband the board and fire Heffner were political moves and not a result of Marcus’ death. “Marcus Fiesel became the focal point for that happening because that would have happened regardless,” Sloan said. Former Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox resigned his elected seat and later was appointment Children Services director. He has since resigned and is headed to federal prison in an unrelated case.

System changes

The death of Marcus Fiesel prompted change the Ohio child welfare system, though the need for retooling the system had been evident for years, said Gary Cates, a former state senator from West Chester Twp.

In 2007, Cates introduced legislation in the Ohio Senate and Rep. Courtney Combs, R-Hamilton, introduced legislation in the Statehouse.

“I hope and pray that it never happens again,” Combs said of Marcus’ death.

Implementing the legislation requirements cost about $15 million in both the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years, said ODJFS spokeswoman Angela Terez. That investment included about $5.2 million in federal funds in each of the years, she said. After Marcus’ death, the Criminal Justice Information System, formed in Montgomery County, expanded to now include 14 Ohio counties. Had CJIS been in effect in Butler County, Marcus could have been pulled from the Carroll home following a June 2006 domestic violence arrest of David Carroll Jr., though the charge was later dismissed.

“Any foster parent in our network — even foster parents where we don’t have children in their homes — if they are pulled over even for a speeding ticket we’re made aware of it instantly,” said Jeff Centers, current children services director. “Anything that might raise a red flag, we’ll know about it immediately.”

Centers said the county pays $46,000 a year for the CJIS licensing records checks and that the agency also has a $95,000 annual contract with the county sheriff’s office to have a deputy supervise the investigations unit and provide services such as security and finding runaways.


Carroll to turn 84 in prison

February 22, 2007

BATAVIA - Liz Carroll, convicted of murder and six other charges in connection with the death of Marcus Fiesel, will be an 84-year-old woman before she’s eligible for parole.

Prior to her sentencing Thursday, Carroll apologized for the lies that prompted thousands of people to search for her 3-year-old foster child after she claimed he was missing.

Carroll also insisted she didn’t kill Marcus. “I didn’t do this to Marcus,” she told Judge Robert P. Ringland before he handed down the sentence. “I didn’t, and I wouldn’t, hurt a child."

Ringland was unmoved by what she said.

Carroll, 30, will spend at least 54 years in prison – and perhaps the rest of her life – based on sentences for murder and the other offenses.

“I did lie after to try to protect my family,” Carroll said. “And I’m sorry. I want to apologize to the community, my family.”

A day after Carroll was found guilty of murder by a jury in the Court of Common Pleas, she again implied that her former live-in girlfriend, Amy Baker, was responsible for Marcus’ death.

“I’m sorry for the lies,” Carroll said. “And I just hope that some day the truth can come out because Amy Baker does not speak the truth.”

Ringland said Carroll was to blame.

“The character and the acts of the people who lived with you do not take away in any fashion what you have done,” Ringland said. “I also note that throughout this entire episode there has never been a sincere concern for Marcus Fiesel.

“Even to this day, your only remorse is that you are being found guilty and not for the death of this child,” Ringland said.

Prosecutors said Marcus was bound in a blanket with packing tape and left in the closet of Liz and David Carroll Jr.’s home in Union Township the weekend of Aug. 4.

When they returned Aug. 6 from a family reunion in Grant County, Ky., the boy was dead, Baker testified during Liz Carroll’s murder trial.

Baker accompanied the Carrolls on the trip, along with the couple’s four other children and the family dog.

“The dog was alive,” Liz Carroll said in court Wednesday, implying that Marcus was left behind because he wasn’t.

Liz Carroll had told The Enquirer that Baker killed Marcus on Aug. 4.

Clermont County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel “Woody” Breyer asked the judge to impose the stiffest sentences possible.

“This is the most offensive and heinous crime that I can recall being involved in (in) my 30 years as a lawyer, and I believe that a maximum consecutive sentence would be appropriate,” Breyer said.

The judge sentenced Carroll to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 15 years on the murder charge. The judge incorporated the sentence for involuntary manslaughter into the murder charge.

She must serve separately a 10-year sentence for kidnapping, another eight years for felonious assault and 21 years on three child endangering charges.

Carroll wore an orange jail uniform with her hands cuffed and feet shackled when brought into the courtroom at 11:30 a.m. During the trial, she wore dark pants suits that hid a security leg-brace from the sight of jurors.

The murder trial of her husband is scheduled to begin March 19.

“I’m just sorry to the community and my family,” Liz Carroll said. “I want people to know I didn’t do this. Whether you believe me or not, I can’t help the lies. I can regret the lies, but I can’t help what I did do.”


Marcus' death 'an accident'

Liz Carroll says plan to put 3-year-old in closet hatched by family friend

By Kimball Perry -

December 20, 2006

In dramatic testimony rarely heard by the public, Liz Carroll told officials - under oath - that family friend Amy Baker came up with the plan that led to the death of 3-year-old foster child Marcus Fiesel.

The testimony came in August when Liz Carroll was before a Hamilton County grand jury.

Usually, Ohio law prevents grand jury proceedings from being revealed, but these statements were made public Tuesday after Liz Carroll's lawyer argued that her testimony should be suppressed and not used against her.

Because of that move, Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier introduced the transcripts into evidence, and they became public.

In the transcripts, Carroll admitted that she lied about what happened to the child.

Initially, she told police - and the grand jury - that Marcus wandered off while at an Anderson Township park with her.

But after being confronted by prosecutors, she admitted that the child was wrapped in a blanket, placed in a playpen inside a closet and left - at least overnight - as the family went to a reunion.

It was Baker - the girlfriend of Liz and David J. Carroll Jr. - who came up with the idea to put Marcus in the closet, Liz Carroll told the grand jury Aug. 28.

"When you left to go down to Kentucky on that Friday, you left Marcus in a closet, didn't you?" Carroll was asked before the grand jury.

"In a closet?" she repeated.

"In a closet at your (Clermont County) house?" the prosecutor asked.

"No," Carroll responded.

"And when you got back early Sunday, Marcus was dead. Now do you want to tell us the truth or keep up this story?" the prosecutor asked.

Carroll didn't respond.

"Did you purposefully kill him?" she was asked.

She didn't respond.

"Or was it an accident?" she was asked.

"It was an accident," Carroll said.

Carroll testified before that grand jury that her husband, David Carroll Jr., and Baker told her that Marcus was dead and that those two took the body from the house.

"Amy said they burned him," Liz Carroll testified.

She also said Baker came up with the idea of saying the child was lost in the park.

David Carroll wondered on the drive to the reunion, Liz Carroll testified, whether they should go back and check on Marcus.

"Amy is, like, he'll be fine," Liz Carroll testified, adding that Baker also was the one who came up with the idea of wrapping the boy in a blanket and placing him in a playpen in the closet.

Liz Carroll was arrested immediately after testifying before the grand jury.

The transcripts come as the Carrolls face charges in Hamilton County of inducing panic and making false alarms. She is also charged with perjury.

They are charged in Clermont County with murder, involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, felonious assault and endangering a child. David Carroll is also charged with gross abuse of a corpse.

The case broke when prosecutors gave Baker immunity and she told them what happened.

Liz Carroll's lawyer wants her grand jury testimony thrown out, saying she "has a history of serious mental defects" and was intimidated and "ambushed" by police and prosecutors when she told grand jurors how Marcus was killed.

Authorities "improperly misled (Liz Carroll) as to why she was" at the grand jury, her lawyer, Adam Bleile, noted in court records.

The judge said he would rule Jan. 3 if he would allow Liz Carroll's grand jury testimony to be suppressed.


Carrolls' bond: $10.1 million

Foster parents plead not guilty in Marcus Fiesel's death

By Greg Korte and Sharon Coolidge - News.Cincinnati,com

August 30, 2006

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick T. Dinkelacker set a bond of $10.1 million for each of the foster parents accused of causing the death of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel.

David and Liz Carroll, arraigned separately this afternoon on charges ranging from inducing panic to involuntary manslaughter, each pleaded not guilty in a packed courtroom.

The $10.1 million bond is believed to be the highest in Hamilton County history, according to court officials and an Enquirer analysis of jail records. The previous record was $10 million set in 2000 for an accused drug dealer found with $250,000 in cash.

Neither defendant said anything beyond the not guilty plea and yes-or-no answers. Brought to court in handcuffs and yellow jail jumpsuits that signify a suicide watch, Liz Carroll barely made eye contact with the judge, while David Carroll stood with his head slightly cocked to the right.

Judge Dinkelacker, reading from a prepared statement, recited a list of factors he considered in setting the bond: the Carrolls have moved eight times in the past 10 years, including once since Fiesel's death. And if the allegations are true, he said, the Carrolls showed "callous disregard" for the life and welfare of a young child, then attempted to subvert justice by covering it up.

"If the allegations are true, I as a father of four, I shudder to think what would happen to other children if you were released at this point," Dinkelacker told David Carroll.

The Carrolls are accused of leaving the foster child tied up in a closet for two days while they attended a family reunion, then lying to police by claiming he disappeared from an Anderson Township park. David Carroll is also accused of abuse of a corpse for burning the boy's body and throwing it in the Ohio River, prosecutors say.

Both defendants appeared with their attorneys, Adam Bleile for Liz Carroll and Scott Rubenstein for David Carroll. Both asked simply that the judge set a reasonable bond.

"She's moved a few times, but it's all in the vicinity," Bleile observed. "It's not the time to try the case. It's the time to set bond."

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters, who made a rare courtroom appearance to handle the case personally, briefly described the allegations and said he expects the charges to be upgraded to murder in the next week.

The courtroom was packed with reporters, photographers, lawyers and even other judges, many of whom sat in the jury box or lined up in standing-room against the walls. Television stations carried the arraignment live and were even allowed to do live reporter "stand-ups" before and after the hearings. Fiesel's birth mother, Donna Trevino, sat in the back of the courtroom, where she was consoled by family members.

The Carrolls are being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Deters said the Carrolls pinned Marcus' arms behind his back, covered him in a blanket and then wrapped him with packing tape like a mummy. Only the toddler's head was exposed, he said.

Then, as Marcus Fiesel cried out in fear, the Union Township couple turned on a fan, shut the door to the 5-by-7-foot closet, walked down the stairs and left the house for a day-and-a-half to attend a family reunion in Kentucky, Deters said.

Marcus was dead by the time they got home early in the morning of Aug. 6. "He was wrapped like a cocoon," Deters said.

That wasn't the first time the Carrolls left Marcus trussed up like that, Deters said. He said similar bindings had happened before, but this was the first time the boy had been left in a closet.

"I don't know how you could leave a child in that condition for that long and believe he would be alive."

A Hamilton County grand jury Monday indicted the Carrolls on charges of involuntary manslaughter and two charges each of child endangering.

David Carroll, 29, was indicted on an additional charge of gross abuse of a corpse.

The grand jury Tuesday added two charges of inducing panic and a charge of making false alarms against the Carrolls, and indicted Liz Carroll, 30, on two charges of perjury.

More charges likely

Deters said he and Clermont County Prosecutor Don White have heard the public concern that the involuntary manslaughter charge is too lenient.

"The reason for that charge was to simply hold them and seize the children," Deters said.

The Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services took the Carrolls' four children away Monday.

"It is the opinion of this office and the Clermont County Prosecutor's Office that these two individuals should be charged with murder," Deters said. He also did not rule out the death penalty.

Deters and White will meet later this week to determine what charges should be brought to a grand jury for consideration.

"Our goal is to have these individuals locked up as long as possible," Deters said.

Deters said the new charges were warranted. The false-alarms charge said that in the past two weeks, the Carrolls' false reports about Marcus' disappearance cost law enforcement more than $5,000.

Deters said the actual cost is many times that.

The inducing-panic charge alleges that the Carrolls made false alarms that "caused serious public inconvenience or alarm."

Liz Carroll's perjury charges stem from two lies to the grand jury Monday, according to records.

When asked whether Marcus was dead or alive, Liz Carroll said she didn't know, Deters said.

She told grand jurors the same story she told the community, Deters said. "Both were lies," he said.

Thousands of people searched for Marcus during the past two weeks after Liz Carroll told authorities that, Aug. 15, she fainted from a heart condition while at Juilfs Park in Anderson Township and Marcus wandered off.

She tearfully begged the public to help her find Marcus, even holding a news conference in the same clothing she wore that day. She claimed she wore the clothes in the hope of triggering the memory of someone who saw Marcus that day.

Her performance was a charade, Deters said.

In fact, Marcus' disappearance in Juilfs Park was one of two plans the couple hatched, Deters said. He said the couple also considered going to Kings Island and saying Marcus wandered off.

Deters said he doubts that Liz Carroll really fainted that day. Marcus had an appointment with social services less than an hour later, and the couple had already turned away a caseworker wanting to check up on the boy Aug. 10.

"It was planned out the whole time, hence the charges today."

Girlfriend key witness

Amy Baker, the girlfriend of both Carrolls, is a key witness against the couple and led investigators Monday night to an old stone chimney in Brown County, where she said David Carroll Jr. burned Marcus' body.

"He went back repeatedly to burn the body," Deters said.

Baker has not been charged in connection with the boy's disappearance.

"She has been cooperating," Deters said. "This is one of those cases where we literally had to rely on somebody."

The decision about whether she'll be charged depends on whether she harmed Marcus, Deters said.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office investigators and criminologists from the Hamilton County Coroner's Office collected material from the chimney, Deters said. DNA testing is being done at the coroner's office.

Anthropologists also have been called in to help determine whether ashes taken from the chimney are the remains of Marcus.

Investigators think that what wasn't burned was tossed into the Ohio River. They searched the river Tuesday near Aberdeen.

"The recovery process is ongoing," Deters said.

Who dropped ball?

Deters said Marcus' death could have been avoided if child protection service agencies did their jobs.

"I think that Marcus had special needs that these people had no training in," Deters said. "They accumulated as many foster kids and day-care kids to maximize how much money they made."

Liz Carroll told The Enquirer that the couple was paid $2,500 a month for day care, $1,000 a month for Marcus and got additional help for nutrition.

"Whoever placed Marcus, it is a serious understatement to say they dropped the ball," Deters said. "They should have made unannounced visits and insisted on seeing him, and they didn't."

Lifeway for Youth is the agency that placed Marcus with the Carrolls, and that agency is currently being investigated by the state.

"I hope if any good comes out of this horrible tragedy, I hope there is a serious review of the foster care program," Deters said. "The vast majority of foster parents are saints, doing it for the love of children. I don't think that was the motivation of the Carrolls."

Butler County Children Services Board officials said the agency will pay Marcus' funeral expenses and make arrangements for services according to the wishes of Donna Trevino, Marcus' birth mother.

Children Services took Marcus from Trevino after he was found wandering in the street in April.



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