Suspect in fatal Ohio toddler stabbing outside Giant Eagle was released just days before attack: report


The woman charged with fatally stabbing a 3-year-old boy outside a Giant Eagle supermarket in Ohio was released from custody by a judge just days before the attack despite being referred for a mental health evaluation, a report says. 

The development comes as Bionca Ellis also has claimed to police in Cleveland that she killed a woman in California – but investigators in Bakersfield determined her confession was not credible, according to Fox 8. 

“There wasn’t any red flags shooting up that pole. There wasn’t any indications here. No sign of any mental distress. No sign of any previous, violent acts,” Rocky River Judge Brian Hagan told the station about his decision to release Ellis three days before she allegedly killed toddler Julian Wood in the Cleveland-area suburb of North Olmsted. 

In the days leading up to the stabbing, Ellis was taken into custody by police for a probation violation in connection to a 2023 arrest involving petty theft at a Walmart store, Fox 8 reports. A magistrate at Rocky River Municipal Court then referred her to a mental health evaluation following her behavior in the courtroom, but Judge Brian Hagan told Fox 8 the organization doing those had nobody available and Ellis would have had to sit in jail for days on a minor offense. 

OHIO SUSPECT ACCUSED OF KILLING TODDLER OUTSIDE GIANT EAGLE SMIRKS IN COURT AS DAD LOOKS ON 

Bionca Ellis in court

Bionca Ellis, 32, center right, appears in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court, on Monday, June 10. (AP/Cory Shaffer/Cleveland.com)

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

During court proceedings in Rocky River, the magistrate was wondering aloud if Ellis had fallen asleep. 

“Ms. Ellis, can you hear me? Can you tell me, North Olmsted, is she falling asleep, or what’s going on?” he reportedly said in audio obtained by Fox 8. “Can you acknowledge me, Ms. Ellis, please?” 

“I think we need to get a mental health evaluation. Let’s hold her for an evaluation,” the magistrate then concluded. “I’m not sure she fully understands the simple requirements that the court has imposed on her.” 

Police say Ellis then fatally stabbed Wood on June 3 in an attack that left his mother, Margot, injured as well. 

CHILLING VIDEO SHOWS OHIO WOMAN BRANDISHING KNIFE BEFORE FATAL STABBING OF TODDLER OUTSIDE GIANT EAGLE, POLICE SAY 

Bionca Ellis in court

Bionca Ellis, 32, center right, appears to smile and smirk in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court, on Monday, June 10, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP/Cory Shaffer/Cleveland.com)

Reports are also emerging that Ellis has had other previous run-ins with the law. 

In February, warrants were issued for Ellis on three counts of battery in Kern County, California, according to Fox 8. 

But she made her way back to Ohio that month and on Feb. 24, an official at the woman’s shelter she was staying at called Cleveland Police to inform them Ellis wanted to confess to a murder in California, the station adds. 

“Bionca then went and explained that sometime in the last few months that she murdered someone in Bakersfield, California,” Fox 8 quoted a police report as saying. “She states the victim was a white female, approx. 5’6″, 150 pounds, and that she was a bartender or worked at a bar.” 

Yet a Bakersfield Police Department spokesperson told KGET that “The information does not match any cases actively being investigated, and at this time, Ellis is not a person of interest or being investigated for any offense.” 

OHIO WOMAN ACCUSED OF STABBING 3-YEAR-OLD BOY TO DEATH IN ‘RANDOM’ PARKING LOT ATTACK 

Jared Wood, father of Julian Wood

Jared Wood, father of 3-year-old Julian Wood, speaks during the hearing of Bionca Ellis in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court on Monday, June 10. (AP/Cory Shaffer/Cleveland.com)

Ellis also has told Cleveland Police she wanted to “kill someone” and was taken by them to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, but while there, she became “extremely irate, agitated and began fighting” with medical staff and officers, Fox 8 is reporting, citing police records. 

In March, she was reportedly arrested near Orlando, Florida, on a trespassing charge for allegedly refusing to leave a hotel. 

Yolanda Eggleton, whom Fox 8 identifies as her mother, said she thinks Ellis was “hallucinating” at the time of the Giant Eagle parking lot stabbing. 

“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.  

Giant Eagle stabbing scene

In bodycam footage released by police, first responders could be seen giving medical attention to Julian Wood following the stabbing on Monday outside the Giant Eagle store in North Olmsted, Ohio. (North Olmsted Police Department)

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“My condolences to this family,” Eggleton added. “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.” 



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