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Toms River Woman Charged With Murder In Death Of 14-Month-Old Boy

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FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A Toms River woman has been charged with murder in the death of a baby boy she was babysitting.

Michelle Heale, 44, was watching 14-month-old Mason Hess at her home on Aug. 28 when she called police to report the boy was having trouble breathing, prosecutors said.

When first responders arrived at the home the boy was unconscious and not breathing.

The child was rushed to a local hospital and later flown to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 1, prosecutors said.

Doctors determined the boy suffered severe brain, spine and retinal damage from a violent shaking, prosecutors said. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt cerebral trauma.

Bail was set Tuesday at $250,000 for Heale.

If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Heale’s lawyer said his client maintains her innocence.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the case because the infant’s father and Heale’s husband both work for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.