St. Clair ShoresFebruary 10, 2014
Details emerge in dismemberment case
By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer
Claiming that she was not truthful during her first court date, Macomb County Prosecutors sought — and received — a higher bond for a St. Clair Shores woman accused of cutting up the body of her son and disposing of it in St. Clair County.
Donna Kay Scrivo, 60, was arraigned by Judge Mark Fratarcangeli of the 40th District Court Feb. 3 on one count of disinterment and mutilation of a dead body — a 10-year felony — and removing a dead body without medical examiner permission — a 1-year misdemeanor.
Scrivo is accused of cutting up and placing parts of the body of her 32-year-old son, Ramsay Scrivo, in garbage bags, then dumping them along the side of the road in the area of China and St. Clair townships in St. Clair County.
According to Detective Margaret Eidt, Scrivo filed a missing person’s report Jan. 27 for her son.
St. Clair Shores Police worked in conjunction with St. Clair County Sheriff’s office, which received reports Jan. 30 of trash bags containing body parts in several locations near the border of China and St. Clair townships.
The St. Clair County Sheriff’s office discovered three scenes where the dismembered male body parts were tossed on Allington Road, a fourth on Fred Moore Highway and a fifth location on the entrance to I-94. With help from the FBI, fingerprints taken from the dismembered man were linked to that of the 32-year-old missing man.
Donna Scrivo was allegedly seen by witnesses carrying black garbage bags out of her son’s home in the 23000 block of Gary Lane and placing them into a silver Chevrolet Blazer, according to Eidt. The victim’s blood was also reportedly found in that same SUV, and the woman was seen in surveillance video from a BP gas station in China Township.
Now police say that after dumping the body parts, Scrivo allegedly made arrangements to have the vehicle she used to drive to St. Clair County donated to Mother Waddles charity automobile auction.
Eidt asked for a bond of $500,000 or more, based upon the fact that Donna Scrivo has relatives in Texas and New Orleans and so is a flight risk. She said police also have concerns about her mental health.
After bond was initially set at $100,000, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith requested Fratarcangeli raise the amount, contending that Scrivo had misrepresented the state of her financial affairs at her arraignment.
During the bond hearing Feb. 4, where Scrivo was represented by Clinton Township attorney Mark Haddad, it was disclosed that Scrivo’s home is worth approximately $150,000, she received two insurance payments over the summer totaling $175,000, owns a 2012 Ford Escape worth $19,000 and withdrew $8,100 from her bank account four days before her arrest.
But Haddad said that information has been taken out of context.
“About the fact that she got life insurance and she got … a big chunk of money because her house burned down, there were a huge amount of medical bills she had to pay with that life insurance money and there was a funeral to pay for,” he said. “She doesn’t get one dollar out of that — all that money goes to the contractor who’s fixing the house.”
Haddad was appointed by the court to represent Scrivo and said although he can’t comment much on the facts of the case, “in the short time I’ve had to interact with her, she’s a very sweet, very polite, very soft-spoken lady.”
Bond was raised Feb. 4 to $250,000 cash and Scrivo was referred to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry for evaluations on competency and criminal responsibility. Her scheduled preliminary examination has been postponed pending the results of those evaluations.
Doris Odren, a neighbor of Scrivo’s for 18 years on Rosedale Street, said this is not in character of the woman she knew.
“She was a nurse, she always helped neighbors out,” she said. “It’s got to be hard for everyone. It’s a terrible thing.”
She said Scrivo also has a 35-year-old son.
Odren said she hoped more details would come out that would show the true nature of the woman she knew.
“I guess I believe you’re innocent (until proven guilty). Maybe there’s other circumstances,” she said.
St. Clair Shores Interim Police Chief Todd Woodcox said they are still working to prove murder charges in the case.
“When the suspect was taken … (there is a) 72-hour clock where she had to be brought before the judge,” he said. “At this point, all we can prove is the dead body disinterment. We plan to bring more charges later but we can only charge what we can prove.”
St. Clair Shores Police Detective Sgt. Jay Cohoe said the Macomb County medical examiner is still awaiting the results of toxicology and other tests before the time and cause of death can be determined.
“We still have a lot of work to do to put things together and we just appreciate your patience at this time,” he said.
Odren said Scrivo’s husband died in May 2013 and in July, there was a fire at Scrivo’s home on Rosedale. Donna Scrivo had been staying with Ramsay Scrivo in his home on Gary Lane while repairs were made to her home. Court records show that Donna Scrivo applied for, and obtained, temporary guardianship of her son for a short period of time in 2013 following the death of her husband.
Odren saw Ramsay Scrivo just a few weeks ago when he shoveled the walk at the home on Rosedale.
“I know that she loved Ramsay a lot,” Odren said. “I can’t get my head around that.”
She said Ramsay Scrivo was having a hard time accepting his father’s death.
Now, she said, she has seen his friends from his years at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School and De La Salle Collegiate High School coming by the neighborhood in shock.
“They can’t even understand what happened,” she said.