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Warrant: Father charged with killing son had affair

Posted October 7, 2010

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— A Durham County man charged last month with killing his 4-year-old son and trying to kill two older children had at least one extramarital affair, according to a search warrant released this week.

Joseph Anthony Mitchell, 46, of 17 Thistle Trace in Hillsborough, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He remains in safe-keeping custody at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Blake Mitchell was killed early Sept. 22 in the family home, and a Durham County Sheriff's Office investigator said the boy's injuries were consistent with suffocation or strangulation.

Two other children in the home at the time, Devon Mitchell, 10, and Lexi Mitchell, 13, told investigators that they awoke to find their father trying to cover their mouths or faces, and they had to fend him off, according to a previous search warrant.

Joseph Mitchell was found with stab wounds and cuts that authorities say were self-inflicted.

Investigators took computers and information on life insurance policies, including policies on the three children, from the home.

According to the new search warrant, two laptops and one desktop computer, an external hard drive and two USB portable drives have been turned over to FBI analysts for examination.

Investigators want to find out if Joseph Mitchell had been in contact with any life insurance company or financial institution or if he had researched the nature of life insurance policies, death by asphyxiation or suffocation or forensic evidence found at a murder scene, according to the warrant.

The warrant also states that investigators obtained evidence that was corroborated by his wife, Christine Mitchell, that Joseph Mitchell had had at least one affair. Investigators want FBI analysts to check the computers for e-mail, instant messages, photos or other online clues of extramarital relationships, according to the search warrant.

The family had suffered numerous financial setbacks, and neither Joseph Mitchell nor his wife had reliable incomes, investigators said.

According to court records, the family's house in the Hardscrabble Plantation subdivision was foreclosed on in mid-June. Investigators said the house was supposed to be turned over to a bank in the coming weeks.

Numerous papers had been served on the family in an effort to collect on other debts, according to a previous search warrant.


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  • designedinfabric Oct 8, 2010

    Both Mr and Mrs Mitchell had well paying jobs when they lived in NY. They were not extravagant in their spending and worked very hard.

    It is unfortunate that when they moved to the south that things started to go sour for them. The economy being as it was and is it's not surprising that they had trouble holding on to the house. As for Mrs Mitchell not working, you don't know the reason why she was not working. Coming from the North and moving as a mixed family down to the land of the "good old boys" might have been a very large part of why neither one of them was working. As for him having an affair/s, what that has to do with this case is beyond me.

    All we know here in NY is that when Joe worked as an EMT here he was the most easy going person, with the greatest personality and the least likely to snap under pressure. Something terrible must have happened to this family for him to do something like this. We sympathize with him and his family.

  • mshood7 Oct 7, 2010

    Many loans were made even though families could not really qualify or were financially able. Courtsey of Dem. Mr. Barney Frank who said everone should be able to get a loan for a house. lol...Now ain't that a kick in the head. Makes my wonder why so many are strung out stressed to the limit because they understood if was a GIFT from the dear dems who just love redistribution of wealth and fleeing the American tax payers. Wow. Dontcha just love what Washington is doing for so many and demonize the rich" Pubs who have no heart. Why even Miss Nancy made the statement that with "foodstamps you get more BANG for your buck." hahaha dems are on a roll....The name of the game is subsidizing AMERICA!

  • rayne0524 Oct 7, 2010

    @ Cricket at the lake,
    having insurance on your children is not weird, my Mom had insurance on my brother & I. I am grateful that she did too, my brother passed away unexpecatantly, so thankfully paying for the funeral wasn't added to the list of things to take care of.

  • justcommonsense Oct 7, 2010

    Many people carry life insurance on their children. Typically just enough to cover final expenses should something happen. It's not something any of us want to think about in regards to our children. The hard reality however is that they, like us are subject to illness and accident at any time.

  • justcommonsense Oct 7, 2010

    "And just where did this come from? You read something about an insurance policy and you come up with this theory? I have never in my life seen as much speculating as I have seen from some of the people who post comments on here. Hollywoood is waiting for you" jbarron4950

    Ummmm.....if you take into account the self inflicted wounds ie cuts and such..one could legitimately come to the conclusion that he was going to kill the children and blame it on robbery/home invasion or some such. Not that far a stretch at all. Sheesh

  • gswalker51 Oct 7, 2010

    Look at the size of that house and "neither" parent had a reliable income? How does that happen? I got a no-money-down loan too but that was 9 years ago, it was through the VA, my house ain't that big and I make my mortgage payments every month. Makes you wonder how many other "fake-it-til-you-make-it" families are in this area living in houses just like this. Scary.

  • being truthful Oct 7, 2010

    I am still trying to figure out how they could afford to live the way they did, thats poor judgement as parents. Sometimes grownups still behave like kids in a candy store for the first time when they have serious life altering decisions to make that affect everyone around them.

  • Cricket at the lake Oct 7, 2010

    Life insurance on your children....weird.

  • YourMom Oct 7, 2010

    I'm sending good karma and healing thoughts to the surviving children. They have a long road to recovery ahead of them. May they eventually find forgiveness and peace of mind.

  • wildcat Oct 7, 2010