Sunday, April 08, 2001

Young children killed

Mother faces charges in deaths of daughter, son

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The screaming inside Apartment 7 began about 3 a.m. Saturday.

        Throughout the Evanston building, neighbors could hear Bridget Stovall yelling, jumping and crashing into things. They also could hear her children, 4-year-old Cariyan Stovall and 20-month-old Iyan Stovall, crying.

        And more than nine hours later, after police broke down the door of the third-floor apartment at 3100 Woodburn Ave. the woman still screamed and yelled. However, her daughter and son were dead.

        Authorities Saturday night charged Ms. Stovall, 23, with two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of her children.

        What killed them will not be known until autopsies are performed.

        “I can't speculate on what happened,” said Homicide Unit Lt. Roger Wolf. “We are in the process of trying to determine what went on.”

        Tiwana Lasley, a neighbor, said the sound of running water inside the Stovall apartment prompted her to alert police at 12:17 p.m.

[photo] Tiwana Lasley, a neighbor of the children who died, is comforted by family members.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We heard water running in the apartment. Then we heard the girl scream and then we heard gurgling,” Ms. Lasley said, wiping her tear-stained face.

        Ms. Lasley said she could hear her neighbor screaming, “I've never done anything like this before,” and “I rebuke you.”

        Ms. Stovall also was heard screaming, “Drink this. Now, throw it up.”

        Police said the children were found in the bathroom.

        Officers arrived at the building at 12:21 p.m. and knocked on Ms. Stovall's door. They could hear her inside, but she would not open the door, Lt. Wolf said.

        Seconds later, officers stormed the apartment.

        Ms. Lasley said when police brought Ms. Stovall outside, she looked around and said, “You all did this.”

        Woodburn Avenue residents said the Stovall family — the mom and her two children — lived in the building about eight months.

        Ms. Stovall was described as a church-goer who kept to herself. Her children appeared well-taken care of and happy.

        “I could never see a person doing that to an innocent child,” said Ms. Lasley, a mother of four. “I didn't know what was going on. It didn't occur to me to call (police) at first because you don't know.

        “I have four children and they get on my nerves sometimes. But there is no way in the world I could ever harm them like that. No way, could I ever harm my children. How can a child stop an adult from doing something like that? They are innocent. They could have been the next president ... anything,” she said.

        These are the seventh and eighth nonpolice-related homicides in the city of Cincinnati during 2001.

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