Michigan Mom Accused of Killing 3-Year-Old Daughter Claims SpongeBob Told Her to Do it

She said she was hallucinating from heroin withdrawal.

A Michigan mom accused of murdering her 3-year-old daughter told investigators SpongeBob SquarePants told her to do it, a court has heard.

Justine M. Johnson, 22, is charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse of Sutton M. Mosser, who was stabbed to death on September 16 — two days after her third birthday.

Ryan Eberline, an investigator with Child Protective Services who interviewed Johnson in Jail, testified on Friday to the bizarre possible motive.

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“She told me that she didn’t remember the specifics of what happened at the time of what happened to Sutton, that she was experiencing hallucinations due to heroin withdrawal and not sleeping for approximately two weeks,” Eberline told the preliminary examination, per MLive.

“She was getting hallucinations from the TV that had instructed her to take her daughter’s life or they would kill her.”

“It was SpongeBob who was saying these things on the TV,” he added. “If she didn’t do what she did to her daughter they would kill her. She said she was afraid for her life and she had lost her mind.”

Johnson and her daughter were living with her parents and brothers in Oscoda Township at the time.

Johnson’s brothers both also testified on Friday; according to Knesley Johnson Jr., when he left for work around 2:30 PM on September 16, Sutton was with her mom and nothing seemed unusual. When he returned home around 4 AM the following morning, he asked his 17-year-old brother where their sister and niece were.

He said his brother went to the back of their house, and saw a human child’s foot sticking out of a bag. Their sister, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found.

The younger brother — who is not being named due to his age — also testified; he said that at 6 PM on September 16, he walked into the bathroom and encountered his sister, who looked like she “was doing lines.”

“As soon as I went to walk in, she brushed it away. But I’m not sure,” he said, describing a powdery white substance on the sink.

He said he asked where Sutton was, and his sister replied: “‘Mind your own [expletive]ing business.'”

“But that’s like her normal response,” he added.

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He said he also left the house that day, returning at 10 PM; He described finding the garbage bag containing his niece’s body hours later.

“There was like a foot sticking out of the bag,” he said. “I ran up and told Knesley, ‘There’s a foot in a bag.’ He didn’t believe me. He thought I was joking.”

After looking inside together, they immediately called an uncle, who called police.

Responding Oscoda Township Police Officer Gerald Soboleski also testified, describing the moment he arrived to find the brothers and uncle in the driveway.

“Knesley started telling me about how he came home from work on this day and looked throughout the house for his sister and niece and was unable to locate them,” officer Soboleski said. “At that point, he said, ‘And then we found this,’ referring to what we later found was the human foot.”

Going to the back of the house, the officer said he found a circular blue tote with two garbage bags stacked on top; protruding from one was a tiny human foot.

“I felt the bottom of the child’s foot. It was cold to the touch, and EMS was called to the scene,” Soboleski said.

The body was wrapped in a comforter inside the bag. Pathologist Dr. Jaya L. Sankaran told the court the child had suffered stab wounds to the neck, chest, and abdomen, and had a gaping wound exposing a portion of small intestine.

Investigators found bloodstains throughout the home and recovered three knives from a bedroom; the bag also contained bloodstained clothing. Several finger and palm prints were found on the bag — all Justine Johnson’s.

Surveillance footage from the 16th appears to show Johnson coming and going from the home wearing the same clothes found inside the bag; at no point does her daughter ever appear with her, investigators said.

Johnson is currently being held without bond, and is scheduled for pre-trial hearing on February 28.

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