Latanisha Carmichael
February 27, 1976 - November 4, 1979
Find A Grave Memorial


On November 4, 1979, a little girl witnessed the brutal killing of her sister. Sabrina Yaw would testify years later at the trial of her mother and brother, that she had seen them beat her three year old little sister until she died:

"I see both of them as devils"

Sabrina said that her sister was being beaten and was screaming like a child who was hurting real bad and then  she just fell over dead. Madeline Carmichael, her mother and Gregory Carmichael, her brother, then proceeded to wrap up Latanisha's little body and stuck her into a trunk with mothballs to cover up any odor. For the next 20 years, the little body would hide in that trunk, inside a closet. Latanisha was killed in front of her sister, who was only nine years old at the time and her twin brother, Andre. Reports say that she was beaten to death for vomiting. Madeline told any one who asked that Latanisha had been taken away and moved to a foster home or that she had moved South. If Sabrina asked about her sister, she was beaten until she eventually said and asked nothing.

There came a point when an Aunt asked Andre about his twin sister. Andre had no memory at all of ever having had a twin sister. Andre asked his sister Sabrina about her and and she told him the whole story and the two siblings decided to go to the police. Police got a search warrant and went to the home and found the trunk, still in the closet. Though Madeline had no criminal record, it is reported that two of her children had been removed from her home in the early 80's due to child abuse and that one of them was Andre. Capt. Ray Ferrari noted that she had become aggravated when they opened the closet door:

"My impression was that she realized it was over"

Madeline Carmichael, who was 61 years old and Gregory Carmichael, who was 38, were both arrested on October 23, 2000. Madeline was charged with second degree murder and Gregory was charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Some lawyers were saying that the death might have been an accident saying that the case was built mostly on the testimony of Sabrina who had only been nine years old at the time and she could have faulty memories about what happened. An autopsy done on Latanisha's remains proved to be inconclusive. Joshua Horowitz, Madeline's attorney said that the Prosecutors were demonizing his client and that it was forcing the defense to ask for a mis-
trial:

"When the shock, the hatred and the prejudice is stripped away from the case, we are
going to find a horrified, single mother who makes a terrible decision to cover up a
tragedy"

Sabrina told of a time when she and Andre were playing and Andre thought there might be toys in the closet. Andre and Sabrina went into the closet even though she knew there were not toy in there, only the body of her sister. A beating followed when their mother caught them, she called Sabrina nosey. At the hearing, Madeline, who was in a wheelchair because of her failing health and Gregory both had no reaction to what Sabrina was saying. Sabrina said that she has stayed in touch with her mother while she has been in jail.

Gregory's lawyer, Jeff Adler called into question, Sabrina's credibility by saying that she had a domestic violence past of her own including threatening to kill her husband. Jeff tried to say that she didn't tell anyone about what she claimed happened to her sister soon, because she didn't really see her sister get beaten and killed and that she  didn't know what had really happened all those years ago. Sabrina said:

"I know what happened and I'm not going to sit here and have you tell me I didn't"

21 years after she killed her daughter, Madeline Carmichael was convicted by the State Supreme Justice for  second degree murder and Gregory Carmichael was convicted of criminally negligent homicide. Madeline was also found guilty of tampering with evidence. Justice Anne G. Feldman was the judge who found them both guilty. At the time of the hearing, Madeline had terminal bone Cancer. Madeline was later wheeled into her sentencing hearing and was told she would spend the next 15 years in prison for what she did to Latanisha. It was reported that she only had a year to live, so she would die in prison. Gregory received a sentence of only 2 1/2 to seven years for his part in the death of his sister.

I am unable to find anything about if or when Madeline died. Though I was able to find a book that was written about this story.



UPDATE:

Thank you to Deanne for sending me an update with information letting me know that Madeline died on August 9, 2002.

Death Occurred in the state of New York

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