Donna Kay Scrivo, waits for her arraignment on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Scrivo was charged with the dismemberment of her son Ramsay Scrivo.
(Photo: Andre J. Jackson, Detroit Free Press)
By Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press
ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. - Eight months ago, Donna Scrivo sought hospitalization for and guardianship of her son, Ramsay, who was diagnosed with psychosis and threatened to hang himself when his father died of a terminal illness.
On Monday, the St. Clair Shores, Mich., mother, who turned 60 on Tuesday, was arraigned in the dismemberment and removal of her son's body, which was discovered in bags last week in rural areas of St. Clair County, about 50 miles northeast of Detroit.
Authorities haven't charged Donna Scrivo with murder and said they aren't able to comment on motive or time, cause and manner of death in the case. They also did not comment on whether there was other trauma to her 32-year-old son's remains.
"These charges are not the end of the case. We are working diligently on a murder investigation," St. Clair Shores Interim Police Chief Todd Woodcox said, adding that Donna Scrivo is charged with offenses authorities can prove. "We plan to bring more charges later. We charged what we could."
Authorities said Monday they were not certain whether Donna Scrivo, a registered nurse, killed her son, saying they have a lot more work in the death of the St. Clair Shores man.
But a few details surfaced during Donna Scrivo's arraignment Monday. According to police, she filed a missing persons report on her son Jan. 27, claiming he left his home, where she also was living while her fire-damaged home was being repaired. They said blood evidence and bleach stains were found in his home, and that Donna Scrivo was seen carrying black garbage bags before her son's remains were found.
Detective Margaret Eidt said in court that video from a gas station in China Township showed Donna Scrivo in the area and that Scrivo admitted to being in St. Clair County prior to the discovery of the remains.
Also, the victim's blood was found in Donna Scrivo's SUV, police said.
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said there were five "scenes" in St. Clair and China townships, where the remains and other evidence were found. He would not comment on the evidence or whether a murder weapon or instrument to dismember the body was found. He said charges in St. Clair County are possible.
Donna Scrivo appeared distraught Monday as she was arraigned on charges 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. She is being held on a $100,000 bond. Her preliminary exam is set for Feb. 14.
Dressed in yellow Macomb County Jail garb, she answered yes or no to questions from Judge Mark Fratarcangeli in 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores. He said she would get a court-appointed attorney, ordered a psychiatric assessment and random drug and alcohol screening and said she is not to allowed to leave the state without prior approval.
Eidt said Donna Scrivo was a flight risk, with relatives in Texas and New Orleans. Investigators said Donna Scrivo had a minor criminal past, including a prior retail fraud offense.
Doris Odren, an 18-year neighbor of Donna Scrivo, attended the arraignment.
"I can't get my head around this," Odren said, adding that Donna Scrivo loved and doted on her son.
Macomb County Probate Court records shed new light on the case.
The death in May of Ramsay's father, Daniel Scrivo, had a great impact on the Scrivo family, especially his youngest son, the records indicate.
Immediately after Daniel Scrivo died, Donna Scrivo filed a petition in Probate Court to have her son hospitalized because of mental illness.
Ramsay Scrivo agreed to hospitalization, the records show. Donna Scrivo - a registered nurse, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs - was granted guardianship of her son, whom a doctor listed as paranoid and suicidal. The hospitalization and alternative treatment was not to exceed 90 days.
According to the court records, Ramsay Scrivo, who was on probation for simple assault, refused to take his medications and had paranoia and depression. His depression and anger, according to a court file, "has escalated to unsafe levels" and Ramsay "has threatened to commit suicide."
According to a June report, Ramsay had gotten into several fights. Donna Scrivo said her son had once threatened and frightened a family friend, whom he thought had poisoned him, according to a report.
According to court records, Ramsay Scrivo briefly worked as an accountant, but resigned after a supervisor criticized his work. He then went into building construction trades and, just before his hospitalization, started a lawn maintenance business.
In September, Ramsay said he thought someone had implanted a speaker in his tooth and he removed a crown in order to remove the speaker, according to probate records.
Doctors diagnosed him with psychosis and said he was paranoid.
Contributing: Gina Damron and Marlon Walker, Detroit Free Press