Monday, September 25, 2006

A hunt for three siblings who had been missing since their mother's murder has ended with their bodies being found in the family's washer and dryer

BBC News:

Tiffany Hall, left, has been charged with killing friend Jimella Tunstall

Police in East St Louis, Illinois, US, had searched the house days before but had not thought to look there.

It was allegedly revealed by a woman, described as a "family friend", who has already been charged with murdering the mother and abducting her unborn child.

Tiffany Hall allegedly claimed the foetus was her own stillborn baby.

On 15 September Ms Hall, 24, had called police to a park, saying she had given birth to a stillborn girl.

After examinations, Ms Hall was allowed to take the baby, which had reached seven months' gestation but had no signs of trauma, away for burial.

After her boyfriend was released from the US Navy for the funeral, Ms Hall reportedly told him that the baby was not theirs - and that she had removed it from the womb of her friend, Jimella Tunstall, 24.

The boyfriend told police and they found Ms Tunstall's body on Thursday, 21 September.

A post-mortem examination showed her womb had been cut open with scissors - possibly after she had been knocked unconscious - and that she bled to death.

Police launched a desperate search for Ms Tunstall's three other children.

They searched her home on Friday 22 September, but found no trace of Demond, seven, Ivan, two, or Jinela, one.

Police said Ms Hall later told them that she had drowned the children and hidden their bodies in the washing machine and tumble dryer.

Police returned on Saturday and found the bodies.

"You wouldn't look into the washer or dryer," said deputy country coroner Ace Hart. "You wouldn't think that's where they would be."

Ms Hall has been charged with the murder of Ms Tunstall, and with intentional homicide of an unborn child.

Relatives said the two women were childhood friends who both became mothers in their teens and looked after each other's children.

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