An Ohio mother was indicted on 16 counts, including murder and abandonment, in the death of her 6-year-old son, who police say was dumped in the Ohio River and has yet to be found.
Butler County prosecutors indicted Brittany Gosney, 29, Friday on one count each of murder, involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence, five counts of endangering children, three counts each of kidnapping and abduction and two counts of gross abuse of a corpse.
Her boyfriend, James Hamilton, 42, was also indicted on three counts each of kidnapping, abduction, endangering children, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.
James Hutchinson, 6, died while his mother allegedly attempted to abandon him and his two siblings at Rush Run Park in Preble County, Ohio, on Feb. 26, police said.
Hutchinson held on to the car as Gosney allegedly drove away and was dragged, according to court documents obtained by Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO. Hamilton allegedly pressured Gosney to abandon the children, according to a Preble County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by WCPO.
Gosney allegedly brought his body back to their hometown of Middletown, Ohio, along with the two other children, who were unharmed, police said. Then, the following night, she and Hamilton drove at least an hour away to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, to allegedly dump the body in the Ohio River, police said.
Hutchinson’s body has yet to be recovered. Treacherous conditions on the river have hampered the search effort, which is expected to resume Sunday, The Associated Press reported.
Police said they won’t know the full circumstances of Hutchinson’s death until they can receive a coroner’s report.
Gosney’s two surviving children, a boy and girl in the second grade, were removed from the home and placed in foster care, police said.
Court records do not list an attorney for either Gosney or Hamilton.
Gosney and Hamilton first reported Hutchinson as missing to Middletown police on Feb. 28, Chief David Birk said during a police briefing earlier this week.
A police alert said the 6-year-old was last seen wearing a red shirt with blue and red Batman pajama pants. Volunteers helped with search efforts. Later that same day, police issued an update that Hutchinson actually had been killed.
The case was “unusual” from the start, Birk said, noting that Gosney and Hamilton came to police a day after they allegedly said he went missing.
“When they come to the police lobby to report a missing child that’s been gone for more than 12 hours or something like that, that was strange from the beginning,” Birk said.
There were also discrepancies between when Gosney and Hamilton allegedly said they last saw Hutchinson, he said.
“The whole situation was just red flags all over,” the chief said.
During the investigation, Gosney allegedly confessed to killing Hutchinson and that they “disposed of him” in the Ohio River, Birk said.
“The mother is not showing much remorse at this time,” the chief said Monday.
Police initially charged Gosney with murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence, and Hamilton with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
Gosney has a fourth child who, prior to this incident, was placed into foster care and adopted, according to Birk, who noted that the family had been in contact with child and family services in the past.
The murder has rocked the Middletown community, which held a memorial on Tuesday for Hutchinson and has established a memorial fund to support his two siblings.
Marlon Styles, superintendent of Hutchinson’s Middletown school district, remembered the first grader as a “fun-loving kid” who “would come running towards the front of the school building with a giant smile on his face.”
“That was James on a daily basis,” Styles said during Monday’s briefing.
Hutchinson’s father told WCPO that he “brought joy to everybody.”
“He always loved to give hugs to people and everything,” Lewis Hutchinson told the station. “He was a great kid.”