Police: Toddler Murder Suspect Said She Wanted to ‘Kill Someone and Eat Their Flesh’ Before Judge Released Her onto Streets

Three-Year-Old Stabbed to Death in Ohio Grocery Store Parking Lot
North Olmsted Police Department

The Ohio judge who released the woman accused of stabbing a three-year-old to death at a grocery store has defended his decision, saying the suspect had no “red flags” despite her extensive criminal background.

Bionca Ellis, 32, is accused of stealing knives from a Cleveland thrift store before walking next door to a Giant Eagle grocery store and stabbing 37-year-old Margot Wood and her son, Julian, in the parking lot on June 3. 

Margot suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the unprovoked attack, while her toddler died after being transported to St. John Medical Center.

North Olmsted Police Det. Sgt. Matthew Beck said the motive for the brutal murder is under investigation at a Tuesday press conference, but called it an “entirely random act of violence.” 

Ellis had been arrested on May 29 for a probation violation related to a Walmart shoplifting charge from last year, but was released just days before the deadly attack, the Daily Mail reported.

While she was in Rocky River Municipal Court for the probation violation, a magistrate judge ordered Ellis to be held for a mental health evaluation after she appeared to become unresponsive, Fox 8 reported

“Ms. Ellis, can you hear me? Can you tell me, North Olmsted, is she falling asleep, or what’s going on?” Magistrate Gregory Sponseller could be heard saying in court audio obtained by the outlet. “Can you acknowledge me, Ms. Ellis, please?”

After she refused to answer, Sponseller said, “I think we need to get a mental health evaluation. Let’s hold her for an evaluation from recovery resources.”

“I’m not sure she fully understands the simple requirements the court has imposed on her,” the magistrate added. 

Despite this, Judge Brian Hagan released Ellis back into the community on May 31.

Even after she allegedly went on to violently kill a three-year-old child, Hagan refused to acknowledge that releasing her may have been a mistake. 

“What would you do differently handling this case, or even next time?” a Fox 8 reporter asked him.

“Nothing. I’m confident in the way this court handled the matter,” the judge replied. “We did it by the letter of the law. There was nothing there to send up the alarms.”

“There wasn’t any red flags shooting up that pole. There wasn’t any indications here. No sign of mental distress. No sign of previous, violent acts,” Hagan argued.

Despite the judge’s assertion that Ellis did not have any signs of “mental distress,” it has since been revealed that the disturbed woman has a lengthy criminal record, and even told cops she killed someone.

Court records obtained by Fox 8 show that Ellis had warrants for her arrest issued in February out of Kern County, California, after being charged with three counts of “battery on person.”

After evading arrest on those charges, Ellis wound up in an Ohio women’s shelter, where officials called Cleveland police just weeks later, saying that Ellis had confessed to murdering a woman in California. 

“Bionca then went and explained that sometime in the last few months that she murdered someone in Bakersfield, California,” a police report viewed by the outlet said. “She states the victim was a white female, approx. 5’6”, 150 pounds, and that she was a bartender or worked at a bar.”

Ellis reportedly told police that she had dumped the victim’s body in an unknown area, possibly near a river. 

While Bakersfield Police had several open homicide cases that were “similar” to what Ellis described, she was not named as a suspect in any of them, Fox 8 reported. 

The Cleveland police report also stated that Ellis said that if she was not taken to jail, “she was going to murder someone at the shelter, ” and wanted to “kill someone and eat their flesh.”

Bakersfield Police reportedly refused to arrest Ellis on murder charges, citing a lack of evidence, and did not come get her on the assault warrants. 

“Cleveland Police also reached out to North Olmsted Police on the probation violation warrant,” the outlet reported. “However, North Olmsted Police said they would not take her into custody.”

Instead of arresting Ellis, North Olmsted police reportedly recommended to simply “advise” her of her active warrants. 

Cleveland Police then transported Ellis to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, where they said she became “extremely irate, agitated and began fighting” with medical staff and cops. 

She ended up being sedated for safety purposes, the police report stated. 

It is not clear how long she remained in the Ohio hospital, but Ellis was arrested near Orlando, Florida just a few weeks later on a trespassing charge after she refused to leave a hotel, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office records viewed by Fox 8 show. 

“She was eventually released from jail and returned to Ohio,” the outlet reported. 

When appearing in the Cuyahoga County Court to face murder charges for the death of Julian Wood, Ellis smiled and smirked as Judge Nancy Margaret Russo spoke. 

Ellis forced the arraignment to be drawn out for three attempts that took nearly an hour as she refused to answer questions, Cleveland.com reported

Russo ended up increasing Ellis’ bail from $1 million to $5 million following an emotional testimony from Julian’s father, Jared Wood. 

“There’s nothing that could ever replace my son, or anything my wife and I and our other kids are going through. It’s horrendous,” Jared, while Ellis looked in the other direction. “Just do whatever you can to keep this monster behind bars.”

Prosecutors have announced that they will seek the death penalty for Ellis’s alleged crimes, which include aggravated murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, endangering children, tampering with evidence and misdemeanor theft, according to the Daily Mail

Ellis’s mother, Yolanda Eggleton, told Fox 8 that the court and mental health system failed her daughter and the Wood family. 

“My condolences to this family,” Eggleton said. “When I found out I was devastated. I’m devastated. No child should ever have to lose their life. She was around my grandkids. It could’ve been one of my grandkids.”

The mother said her daughter had struggled with mental health issues for years, and had recently stopped taking her medication. 

Arguing that her daughter should have been held for a mental health evaluation when Magistrate Gregory Sponseller requested it at the end of May, Eggleton added that she believed Ellis to have been “hallucinating.”

“Bionca has been on several medications that did not work out for her. The hallucinations and the voices just got the best of her,” Eggleton said. 


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.