Published November 17, 2014
VANCLEAVE, Miss. -- An Alabama man who told police he buried his two young children will be charged with murder now that investigators have found remains believed to be his 3-year-old son, police said Wednesday.
Mobile Police Officer Chris Levy said the discovery of a boy's bones in rural Mississippi gives authorities enough evidence to file two murder charges against John DeBlase. Levy said authorities are convinced the remains are those of Chase DeBlase, but they're conducting tests to confirm the identity.
Levy told The Associated Press that prosecutors gave police approval to prepare the murder charges against DeBlase after the bones were discovered Wednesday morning. DeBlase, 27, is being held on charges of child abuse and corpse abuse, and he has been assisting authorities in the search for the children's bodies. Remains of the 5-year-old girl haven't yet been located.
John DeBlase told investigators he dumped the boy's body in March.
"Everything we found is absolutely consistent with the information he gave to us on what to look for," Levy said.
The father has also told authorities he dumped the body of his daughter Natalie in the woods north of Mobile in June.
He claims the children were killed by their stepmother, Heather Leavell-Keaton. She is jailed in Louisville, Ky. on child abuse charges awaiting return to Mobile. Leavell-Keaton says DeBlase poisoned them.
Levy said police aren't ready yet to charge Leavell-Keaton with killing either of the children, but investigators have said previously that she shares responsibility for their deaths.
Their families echo each one's allegations. Leavell-Keaton's mother said her daughter had tried before to leave a lying, controlling man, and they suspect he poisoned the children. DeBlase's parents, however, said they believe it was a violent and unpredictable stepmother who manipulated their son into helping cover up slayings she committed.
Still, they're not excusing DeBlase.
"I can't believe John is responsible for this, but I know he could have prevented it," Deblase's mother, Dorothy, told The Associated Press. "But if Heather told him to go jump off a bridge, he would go jump in a river."