The death of a child is always a tragedy. They have such long lives full of experiences that are cut short by something.

Sometimes it’s unpreventable, a terminal illness from birth or an unexpected accident.

Random acts of unkindness from the universe, where all the anger one could have turned into sadness knowing there is no justice to take out.

Some deaths are much more personal, however. Sometimes when a child dies, an adult is there to facilitate it.

Marcus Fiesel died in that way. With a child so young, and one needing the care he required, the line between an accident and a murder can be thin, but it was most certainly crossed by all the parties involved.

What makes it worse is the system of failures that could have prevented Marcus’ death, starting from his birth mother and going up to the state level of foster care.

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10 Too Young

Marcus Fiesel was born in 2003 in Middletown, Ohio, and died in 2006. In that very brief period, he went through more than most people do in their lives.

He was born into an unfortunate home, to Donna Trevino, whose maiden name was Fiesel, with two siblings.

While he was seen as an energetic and very positive young boy, his high-spirited attitude only wound up driving his mother to exhaustion.

Marcus was autistic and was set up to attend a special needs school. He was also very hyperactive, past the point where his mother could adequately care for him.


9 Sad Parting

Donna couldn’t take it and surrendered Marcus over to Butler County in 2006, which ended up being a fatal mistake.

Even before that, Marcus was not in the safest place. Donna was often left weeping over her inability to take care of her children.

She knew she was overworked, and her abusive boyfriend was no help. She was all alone with raising Marcus. Her house was infested with fleas, and uncleaned feces stained the carpet.



8 Accident Prone

Marcus more than once was hurt from his adventurous nature, almost being hit by a car and falling off the second story after he found a way to crawl out the window.

Both times, fortunately, he survived. When his mother couldn’t keep up with him before entering foster care, he proved to be a handful.

Extra care and attention were required for a child with his condition, which the foster agency had to keep in mind when picking out a new family for him.

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7 Lifeway For Youth

The agency involved in making sure Marcus received a better, loving home was called Lifeway for Youth.

They were a private agency contracted by Ohio’s foster system to handle placement and interviewing and clearing potential foster parents.

They were the next step of failure because they failed to properly vet and identify Liz and David Carroll’s threats.

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6 Carroll Family

Marcus was placed into his new home with the Carrolls from a nearby county. This did not prove to be the upgrade in living that Lifeway assumed it would be.

The Carrolls had other foster children and children of their own, but they also had problems.

Liz was overworked and overstressed, just like Donna before her. David had a mental condition and periods of violent action that would have otherwise removed him from any foster family listing if they were known and reported.

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5 Jealousy

The main problem was with David. Due to his undiagnosed condition, he became jealous of not getting the majority of care and attention directed toward the children.

He especially disliked Fiesel, who, unlike his children, wasn’t related to him in any way. Liz tried her best and considered Marcus the same as her son.

At some point, David left home ultimately to return with a so-called girlfriend, Amy Baker.

4 Family Reunion

In August of 2006, Liz and David Carroll went down to Williamstown, Kentucky, for a family reunion over a weekend. The event seemingly went off without a hitch.

It wasn’t until a week later when the tragedy unfolded, as Liz reported Fiesel was missing.

She claimed to be at a park with him, her and David’s child, one of Marcus’ foster siblings, and a toddler she was babysitting. She passed out from low blood sugar, and when she awoke, Marcus was gone.

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3 Hot Box

The remains of Fiesel were discovered in a different county altogether, and from there, the investigation was able to reveal what happened. Marcus never went missing, as Liz reported.

She knew where he was the whole time: dead. When they left for their family reunion, they left Marcus at home, wrapped in a blanket and bound with tape in a closet.

His survival was grim with no food or water, but the temperature was likely what killed him in the late-summer heat of the home. David and Amy were responsible for finding a chimney to burn his body in.

2 Trial Of Errors

The Carrolls were held accountable for the ultimate failure of leaving Marcus to die. They were mindful enough to take their dog to the family reunion over the weekend but couldn’t take a child.

Liz maintained her innocence, even after her story was exposed as a lie, that she never hurt him. The jury convicted her of 54 years in prison.

David Carrol, who orchestrated it, reached a plea deal where he would not defend himself. He and Amy were responsible for the murder and gross abuse of a corpse.

He was sentenced to 15 years, and Amy escaped charges in Ohio but was indicted in Kentucky for tampering with evidence. Her charges were dropped a year later in 2008.

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1 Moving On

The community that loved Marcus and mourned his death found the chimney where he was burned and built a memorial in its place. It was the least they could do.

The most they tried to do was make sweeping changes to the foster care system. Lifeway was revoked of their credentials for allowing the Carrolls to take custody when they were incapable of doing so.

Many bills have been put before Congress to restructure the foster care system. No one wants another Marcus Fiesel to happen.

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