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Suspect in North Olmsted fatal toddler stabbing obtained knife at thrift store just before attack, police say

A GoFundMe for the family has raised more than $140,000 so far
Bionca Ellis
Giant Eagle stabbing
Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 03, 2024

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — North Olmsted officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to shed light on what happened in the minutes leading up to the fatal stabbing of a toddler in the Giant Eagle parking lot.

According to North Olmsted Police Detective Sgt. Matt Beck, the suspect, 32-year-old Bionca Ellis, was at the Volunteers of America store, which is a thrift shop adjacent to the grocery store, where she obtained some sort of kitchen knife. It's unclear if she paid for it or stole it.

Beck describes what happened:

Police describe what happened moments before fatal stabbing

Ellis then left the store, walked over to Giant Eagle, located in the 27000 block of Lorain Road, just after 3 p.m., and approached the 38-year-old mother, who was pushing her 3-year-old Julian Wood in a grocery cart as they were nearing their vehicle. Ellis allegedly stabbed the woman and Julian multiple times and walked off. The entire attack unfolded quickly, Beck said.

“The incident itself happened in less than five seconds, so the people that were near there did react and respond. But by that time, the incident was already over and Ms. Ellis was already walking away,” Beck said. “The young child suffered two stab wounds, one to the face, one to the back. And she suffered one to her shoulder area.”

The city's police department is right across Lorain Road, and multiple officers responded to the parking lot after the department was inundated with 911 calls about the stabbing. Officers tracked Ellis down nearby and took her into custody without resistance. The suspected weapon was found next to Ellis when she was arrested.

The mother and Julian were taken to a nearby hospital. Julian later died from his injuries. The mother is recovering from hers.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family. CLICK HERE for more information.

“As a mother, I cannot even begin to fathom the sense of loss that this family is going through,” said North Olmsted Mayor Nicole Dailey Jones.

Police Chief Bob Wagner added, "Our condolences go out to the family. It’s a very difficult time, I know for them, but also for all the first responders.”

Officials said the motive behind the attack is unknown, and it appears this was a random act of violence. Ellis and the victims had no prior interactions, police said.

Beck said Ellis was known to North Olmsted Police because of a 2023 shoplifting incident at a Walmart in the city.

More recently, she was arrested Thursday in the city on an outstanding warrant. Prior to the stabbing, Beck said Ellis had come to the North Olmsted Police Department to inquire about property secured during the arrest.

He said previous crimes never included a history of violence.

“There's no indication why she committed this. There’s some mental health concerns that we have, but nothing concrete at this point,” Beck said.

Watch the entire North Olmsted news conference.

North Olmsted officials provide update on stabbing that killed 3-year-old

Ellis has been charged with aggravated murder. Her bond has been set at $1 million, and she is scheduled to appear in court on June 10.

During her arraignment, she never lifted her head except to leave.

Bond set at $1 million for woman accused of allegedly stabbing 3-year-old to death in North Olmsted

Shoppers in shock over brazen attack

"I am just completely shocked because I have grown up here my whole life, so I was just even shocked to hear that that happened," said shopper Abby Weaver. "It's just tragic to hear that it happened so close to our home."

Shoppers tell News 5 that this recent incident, tied with the murder-suicide at the same store location last year, has frightened them.

"It's scary knowing you can't even go to the grocery store anymore," said shopper Al Zelek. "And after things that have happened in the past, it's like, you know, what's going on?

"It kinda sucks, you can't go to the grocery store, and you have to worry about being assaulted."

Zelek is referring to the murder-suicide that happened at the same North Olmsted Giant Eagle last June.

Past involvement with law enforcement

News 5 Investigators went to Ellis’s last known address.

It was an apartment building on Puritas Avenue.

The maintenance director called the whole situation sad. He told News 5 Investigators Ellis had been evicted 30 days ago. Court records show she owed back rent.

But in March, Ellis was in Kissimmee, Florida. She was arrested on a trespassing charge.

Court records there reveal Ellis tried to rent a room at a hotel but didn’t have any money and refused to leave when asked.

She then told police she was on vacation from Ohio and that she wanted to go to jail.

Police release video of murder-suicide at North Olmsted store Sunday, but many questions still unanswered

RELATED: Police release video of murder-suicide at North Olmsted store Sunday, but many questions still unanswered

North Olmsted Mayor Nicole Dailey Jones issued the following statement Monday after the attack:

"First and foremost, I want to express my deepest and most sincere condolences to the family of the three-year old boy who unfortunately passed away yesterday after being stabbed in a random attack at the North Olmsted Giant Eagle supermarket.

This was a terrible tragedy for our entire community. As North Olmsted Mayor, and a mother myself, I cannot fathom what this family must be going through. To lose their youngest child in such a violent and senseless manner is absolutely heartbreaking. I know that all the residents of North Olmsted join me in sharing their profound grief. We are all terribly sorry for their loss and I ask everyone to keep them in thought and prayer.

Our police department continues its on-going investigation of the crime as we attempt to begin healing and moving forward. I commend all our safety forces for their compassion and swift response in the wake of this situation.

The City will be offering grief counseling to all our employees who are in need of those services. The safety of all our residents continues to be a top priority of my administration.”

North Olmsted Mayor Nicole Dailey Jones issued the following statement Monday after the attack:

“We were heartbroken to learn of the passing of the young victim in yesterday's senseless act of violence. Our thoughts are with the child, his mother and their loved ones during this unimaginably difficult time.

We thank the North Olmsted Mayor's Office and the community's first responders for their unwavering commitment. We are providing counseling services to our store teams and are ready to support our North Olmsted neighbors however we can.”
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