Marcus Fiesel was born on June 24, 2003 to Donna Trevino in Middletown, Ohio. He had two other siblings. Fiesel was autistic and attended a school for special needs children. Frequent calls to the police were made to the home as Trevino was a regular victim of domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend, and during these visits police officers noticed that the home was infested with fleas and reeked of feces. On September 29, 2005, police observed severe bruising on Fiesel’s left buttock, and the family was also being investigated by child welfare workers who had received complaints of abuse. Trevino told police that “she didn’t know if she could care for her children any more and that it was getting to be too much for her.” She handed them over to Butler County.
Lifeway for Youth, a private agency contracted by the state foster care system, placed Fiesel in the care of foster parents Liz and David Carroll, a couple from Union Township in nearby Clermont County. Unbeknownst to the agency, David Carroll had a mental health issue and the couple had live-in girlfriend, Amy Baker.
Liz Carroll reported that Fiesel had gone missing on August 15, 2006. She said that she had she blacked out due to low blood pressure at Juilf’s Park in neighboring Anderson Township, where she was with four children: a child she had with David Carroll, another foster child, a toddler she was babysitting, and Fiesel. Carroll said when she regained consciousness, Fiesel was missing. Hundreds of people, and search dogs, searched the area as part of the official search for Fiesel. Thousands more searched surrounding neighborhoods independent of the official search. On August 22, 2006, Liz Carroll held a press conference asking that whoever may have taken Fiesel return him. She said, “I need help from the public to help my son, Marcus is my son. I know people think foster care is temporary, but please return him to a hospital. […] Waking up every morning and not having him run to me is very difficult. I am closer than his birth mother to him.” Because no witnesses reported seeing Fiesel in the park with Liz Carroll on August 15, and no trace of him was found, police and the public grew suspicious of Liz and David Carroll’s claims.
David and Liz Carroll had left Fiesel locked in a closet, bound with a blanket and packing tape, while they attended a family reunion in Williamstown, Kentucky on August 4–6, 2006. Fiesel was left without food or water, but authorities believed he was killed by heat rather than dehydration or starvation, as temperatures in the closet may have reached 105–110 °F (41–43 °C). They found him dead when they returned home. David and Amy incinerated Fiesel’s remains, which were discovered were discovered on an 88-acre (360,000 m2) estate owned by Mike Cales in Brown County, Ohio. Amy Baker confessed to helping to dispose of the body in the Ohio River.
The Carrols were indicted in Clermont County and Hamilton County for playing a part in Fiesel’s death and hindering the police investigation into Fiesel’s disappearance.On August 28, 2006 Liz and David Carroll were indicted by a Hamilton County Grand Jury on two counts of child endangerment, and one count of involuntary manslaughter. David Carroll was charged with an additional count of gross abuse of a corpse. A day later on August 29, 2006, additional Hamilton County indictments were made against the Carrolls. Both David and Liz were charged on one count of making false alarms, and one count of inducing panic. Furthermore, David was charged with one count of gross abuse of a corpse. Liz was charged with two additional charges of perjury.
Liz Carroll was found guilty of all charges on February 21, 2007. The jury, made up of nine women and four men, deliberated for 4-6 hours. The trial lasted for 10 days beginning on February 12, 2007 and ending on February 21, 2007. Her lawyer Gregory A. Cohen promised to appeal. The appeal was also over a report that a juror reportedly said in an interview that she “knew in her heart Liz Carroll was guilty”.During closing comments the assistant prosecutor Daniel Breyer said “They say you wouldn’t treat a dog like that, and you know what? She [Liz] wouldn’t! She took the dog with her. She took the dog with her.” He referred to the Carrolls taking their dog with them to their family reunion, but leaving Fiesel at home. After the assistant prosecutor’s closing remarks Liz Carroll said: “The dog was alive!”She was sentenced to 54 years to life on February 22, 2007.After accepting a plea deal, David Carroll pleaded guilty to murder and gross abuse of a corpse. The judge accepted his plea, and sentenced Carroll to 15 years to life in prison. Carroll said that Amy Baker bound Fiesel, but he admitted he was present. All charges made against Baker were dropped.
Lifeway, the agency that placed Fiesel with the Carrolls, had its license revoked. Several bills have been put before the United States Congress and investigations continued into why Fiesel was placed with the Carrolls. Many placement organizations have since modified their procedures and intensified their background screening for potential foster parents. In all, state legislators, foster care workers, and child advocates have recommended 55 changes to Ohio’s foster care system.