Mother charged with murder after child’s body is found in trash bag

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Oscoda Township, Michigan: Officers were called to a residence at about 4:00 am on the morning of Friday, September 17, after the foot of a child was found protruding from a garbage bag within the residence.

 

Oscoda Township police officers spoke with a male at the residence, who told them that he had asked his sister, 22-year-old Justine Johnson, about the whereabouts of her daughter the previous day and had been told to "mind his own business."

 

Inside the bag officers discovered the body of the 3-year-old Sutton Mosser with multiple stab wounds to the chest.

 

Johnson was not at the residence at the time of the discovery, but was located at approximately 8:30 am walking along railroad tracks near Vaughn Trail in Oscoda Township. When asked about the death of her daughter she reportedly told officers that she did not wish to discuss the topic.

 

Officers noted in their arrest report that Johnson was calm and unemotional at the time of her arrest.

 

One of Johnson's family members alleged that she had been using drugs in the house before Sutton died, but her mother, Alisa Johnson, told WNEM-TV that "Justine loved Sutton with all her heart. She'd never let anybody hurt that baby, she would always [be] there for her, she never did anything to hurt her."

 

Alisa was noted as being Sutton's primary caregiver.

 

Citing the arrest report, the Oscoda Press reports that bloody clothing, matching what Johnson was seen wearing the night before the discovery of Sutton's body, was found inside the garbage bag as well.

 

On Monday Johnson was arraigned in 81st District Court on charges of felony murder and first-degree child abuse. She pleaded not-guilty to both charges and is being held without bond.

 

Her public defender had argued in favor of the judge setting a bond amount, but Iosco County Prosecutor James Bacarella argued against a bond saying, "This was a very violent and brutal murder. We have genuine concerns for the public's safety, and there is also the fact that Ms. Johnson has engaged in self harm since the crime."

 

Johnson is scheduled to be back in court on September 29 for a probable cause hearing.

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