An Ohio woman accused of trying to abandon her 6-year-old son at a park, dragging him as she drove away and later dumping his body in the Ohio River was indicted Friday on charges including murder and corpse abuse.
The 16 counts against Brittany Gosney, of Middletown, also include involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of endangering children, abduction and kidnapping. The reasons for those charges weren’t explained in further detail in the indictment.
Butler County court records listed no attorney for Gosney, 29.
Authorities have said she told investigators that her son, James Hutchinson, was killed at a park in southern Preble County when he grabbed for a vehicle door and was dragged as she drove away.
Police believe Gosney and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, later dumped the body into the river near Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last weekend. Flood conditions this week have held up the search for the boy’s body.
Hamilton, 42, was also indicted on Friday on 15 counts, including corpse abuse, tampering with evidence, endangering children, kidnapping and abduction. No attorney was listed for him in online court records.
Authorities say two other children who lived in the Middletown home have been removed into foster care. Middletown officials have set up a memorial fund to support them in honor of their brother.
Investigators questioned Gosney and Hamilton.
Middletown Police Chief David Birk said the couple confessed that James had been killed a few days earlier in Preble County, then brought back to Middletown, where the family live, and put into the river.
Court documents that were released on Monday allege that Gosney had taken her son to Rush Run Park in Preble County with the intention to leave him there, but when she tried to drive away, the child grabbed onto the car in an attempt to climb back inside, reported NBC4i.
According to police, the mother-of-four drove away, dragging her son at a high rate of speed.
Gosney returned to the park 30 to 40 minutes later and found James lying in the middle of the parking lot with injuries to his head. She said the child had died.
Gosney then placed his body in her car, drove to the family’s home in Middletown and stored his body in an upstairs bedroom.
The following day, Gosney and her boyfriend allegedly took the boy’s body and dumped it in the river.
Police are working with trained searchers to find the child’s body.
‘The river is very high and treacherous, so we will not be disclosing the exact location in hopes of avoiding another tragic incident,’ Birk said in the release.
During their arraignments on Monday, a judge set Gosney’s bond at $1million on the murder charge, and Hamilton’s at $105,000 on the abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering charges.
During her hearing, Gosney tearfully complained that she did not understand the legal proceedings because she has a learning disability.
Both suspects are due back in court on Monday.
Investigators offered no motive or details for the boy’s killing.
Birk also said two other children have been removed from the couple’s home.
Posts from Gosney’s multiple Facebook accounts indicate that she has four children: two daughters and two sons.
Gosney described herself on social media as ‘Full Time Mommy!’ and regularly shared photos of her smiling children and Hamilton, whom she referred to as her ‘husband’ and her ‘everything.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ariel Zilber and Snejana Farberov