Crime

Woman Convicted Of Son's Murder 25 Years Later

| by John Freund
Michelle Lodzinski at her murder trialMichelle Lodzinski at her murder trial

Justice has finally been served for a boy that was killed almost a quarter century ago.  

Timmy Wiltsey went missing from South Amboy, New Jersey, on May 25, 1991, NJ.com reports. He was just 5 years old at the time.

The boy's mother, Michelle Lodzinski, reported him missing to authorities and said Timmy disappeared while the two were attending a traveling carnival in nearby Sayerville. 

The case made headlines at the time as volunteers searched for little Timmy, whose face was one of the first to adorn milk cartons aimed at raising awareness for missing children.  

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The boy's skeletal remains were found nearly a year later in a marsh in Raritan Center in Edison, near where Lodzinski had once worked. The body's deterioration meant that the medical examiner could not establish a cause of death. 

Some investigators reportedly suspected that Lodzinski, the boy's mother, was responsible for his slaying for a long time, but it wasn't until August 2014 that she was arrested in Florida, where she lived with her two teenage sons, both of whom were born after Timmy's death. 

According to Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua, the key piece of evidence in this case was a child's blanket, found near the remains of the boy's body. Prosecutors said the blanket came from Lodzinski's home.

"She dumped his body in a creek like a piece of trash," Bevacqua said in court, according to NJ.com, "but she left behind a telling clue: This blanket. No other killer could get this."  

The trial, which began earlier in 2016, lasted eight weeks and included dozens of witnesses. And then, on May 18, 9,125 days after Lodzinski first reported Timmy missing, she was convicted of murdering her son.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated just four hours before coming back with a guilty verdict, at which point Lodzinski reportedly dropped her head and began to shake. She remained silent as she was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. Only her brother, Michael Lodzinski, could be heard screaming: "I love you sis! I love you very much."  

That same brother penned a deeply emotional letter to his sister before she was convicted, in which he questioned her innocence, Patch.com reports.

"Why have you never sought justice for Timmy?" the letter reads, "Because the police think you did it?  That wouldn't stop me if it was my kid." 

Michael encouraged his sister to "do the right thing" in the letter, asking her, "All the lies, why?"  

According to Michael, he began to doubt his sister's innocence when she was convicted of faking her own kidnapping in 1994 and then later convicted of stealing a computer.  

Many in the community agreed that Lodzinski is guilty of her son's murder.

"I hate to say I'm very happy about it, but I am happy," Denise Hogan, a former teacher at Timmy's elementary school in South Amboy, told NJ.com.  "It took twenty five years, and we knew back then that she was guilty."  

"I think justice has finally been served for him," Hogan added.  "He can finally rest in peace."  

Murder in New Jersey is punishable by up to life in prison. Lodzinski's attorney, Gerald Krovatin, indicated that he will likely appeal the verdict.  Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey had no immediate comment.  

Sentencing for this case is set to take place on Aug. 23. 

Sources: NJ.com, Patch.com / Photo Credit: NJ Advance via NJ.com

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