Ohio Woman Accused of Killing 3-Year-Old Had Troubling History

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CLEVELAND — The suspect accused of killing a 3-year-old boy outside a grocery store in Ohio told police three months ago that she had killed a woman in California, and she said she would kill again, according to court records.

However, Bionca Ellis remained free to roam the streets and the country, and she traveled to Florida.

Truth Voices affiliate WJW uncovered chilling information about Ellis, who is accused of stabbing and killing 3-year-old Julian Wood on June 3. Police in North Olmsted, a western Cleveland suburb, have said Ellis attacked the child and his mother in a Giant Eagle grocery store parking lot. Julian’s mother survived.

Ellis had a probation violation warrant from Rocky River Municipal Court stemming from a May 2023 misdemeanor theft charge.

Court records in Kern County, California, show warrants were issued there for Ellis in February of this year. She was accused of three counts of “battery on person.”

Despite the warrants in California, Ellis somehow got back to Ohio and ended up in a women’s shelter in February. On Feb. 24, an official at the shelter called Cleveland police saying Ellis wanted to confess to killing someone in California.

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

Ellis also told police she dumped the body in an unknown area, possibly near a river, and she was unsure if the body had been found.

The Cleveland officer reached out to a detective with Bakersfield police, who said they have several unsolved homicide cases that sound similar to what Ellis described. But, none of those cases listed Ellis as a named suspect.

The Cleveland report also stated Ellis told officers if she was not taken to jail, “she was going to murder someone at the shelter.” She also said she wanted to ”kill someone and eat their flesh.”

Bakersfield police said they did not have enough evidence to hold Ellis on a murder case, and they would not come and get her on the assault warrants.

Cleveland police also reached out to North Olmsted police on the probation violation warrant. However, North Olmsted police said they would not take her into custody. Instead, they recommended to “advise” her of the warrant.

Cleveland police took Ellis to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The report further noted that when Ellis was at the hospital, she became “extremely irate, agitated and began fighting” with nurses, doctors and police officers. She was sedated for her safety, according to the report.

It’s not known how long she remained in the hospital, but a few weeks later, she was arrested near Orlando, Florida. Reports from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office show Ellis was arrested on a trespassing charge after she refused to leave a hotel. She was eventually released from jail and returned to Ohio.

Then, she was arrested in Ohio just days before the killing of Julian. A magistrate recommended a mental health check. Rocky River Municipal Court Judge Brian Hagan released her without a hearing. Last week, the judge told WJW he was unaware of anything alarming when releasing Ellis and that he would handle the case the same way if he had to do it again.

Monday morning, Ellis appeared in Cuyahoga County Court to begin facing murder charges tied to the stabbing of Julian Wood and the attack on his mother.

Ellis smiled and made faces as Judge Nancy Margaret Russo read the charges.

Julian’s father, Jared, spoke briefly asking for Ellis to be held in jail.

“She took everything from us. There is nothing that could ever replace my son. Do whatever you can to keep this monster locked up,” he said.

Russo set bond at $5 million.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors still could decide to seek the death penalty.

Ed Gallek
Ed Gallek
Digital Reporter. Ed has reported in Cleveland since 1995. He graduated from Kutztown University, a small school in central Pennsylvania. From there, he reported for TV stations in Johnstown-Altoona, PA, Harrisburg, PA, and Charlotte, NC before making his way to Cleveland. He's married to Peggy Gallek.

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