CINCINNATI, OH — On February 6, 1996, police were called to the parking lot of an apartment complex in Cincinnati following reports that a woman was cradling a child and screaming, “Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus!”
Responding officers found a horrifying scene: Christina Miracle, 25, had killed her six-year-old son Brandon by beating and then suffocating him. It was later determined that Miracle was suffering from mental illness and delusions the day her son died.
According to investigators, Miracle had murdered Brandon as part of a sinister religious ceremony gone wrong — she supposedly thought she was resurrecting her dead brother while also baptizing her son. The brutal killing baffled Miracle’s family and friends, and Brandon’s father, who described her as a good and attentive mother.
Miracle met Brandon’s father, David Lehn, in 1996. She was a high school senior when she found out that she was pregnant, and then dropped out of school and moved in with Lehn. But the relationship was rocky, and the couple argued often.
Lehn moved out for good when Brandon was almost two years old, and the couple agreed Brandon would live with Miracle, but Lehn continued to see his son often. According to Lehn, Miracle appeared to be a good mother. But in 2003, her mental health went downhill.
She began acting irrationally, and family members said that she began to be worried that somebody had poisoned the water. Miracle was admitted to a psychiatric ward, where she stayed for a week. After being diagnosed with major depression, Miracle was sent home with medication and orders to see a counselor. But the medicine made Miracle groggy and out of it, so much so that she was barely able to walk so she reportedly stopped taking it.
The morning of February 5, Brandon didn’t go to school. When David Lehn called to find out why, Brandon said his mother was “talking freaky.” The next day, the boy was dead.
Lehn told the Cincinnati Enquirer that during his last visit with Brandon, he and his son went shopping, and the boy picked out a dinosaur comforter for his bedroom and then watched Batman cartoons and ate spaghetti, peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, and pizza.
Immediately after Brandon’s death, authorities took Miracle to University Hospital, and she was later admitted to Summit Behavioral Center for treatment. Dr. Adelaida Fernandez, who treated Miracle at Summit, revealed that she had improved since taking antipsychotic medicines to stabilize her moods. Fernandez explained that Miracle’s bipolar diagnosis could cause racing thoughts, poor judgment, and incredible energy, as well as psychotic delusions and exaggerated religious thoughts.
The Hamilton County coroner who performed Brandon’s autopsy said the child had a pattern of bruises on his back consistent with him having been beaten. Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Daniel Breyer said that the child’s cause of death was suffocation, either through strangulation or drowning.
Miracle doesn’t remember much about what happened the day Brandon died, according to Fernandez, and has retained only “fragmented memories” due to her delusions. She was indicted on charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter in Brandon’s death. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but a judge found her competent to stand trial.
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The Enquirer (2)
Main photo: Brandon with his mother, Christina Miracle [Provided]