SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The mother charged with killing her son more than 20 years ago was back in court in New Jersey Friday to face the charges.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, Michelle Lodzinski had been living in Port St. Lucie, Florida with two other children when she was arrested Aug. 7 and charged with murder in the 1991 death of her 5-year-old son, Timothy Wiltsey.
CBS 2 News cameras were rolling exclusively when authorities brought Lodzinski, 47, to the Sayreville Police Department headquarters in New Jersey.
Lodzinski waived extradition last week in Martin County, Florida. She will stand trial in New Jersey in a case that haunted her old South Amboy neighborhood since George H.W. Bush was president.
“It’s terrible how could she do something like that,” said South Amboy resident Marion Nowak. “How would you do your little boy like that, then have two kids after that?”
On Saturday, May 25, 1991, Lodzinski – then a 23-year-old single mother – took her son to a carnival at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park in Sayreville.
“I don’t remember anything else than what I’ve told everybody,” she said at the time.
Lodzinski also told CBS 2 in 1991 that she lost track of Timmy at the carnival as he got a soda after riding a couple of rides.
“After I paid for the soda, I turned around and he was gone,” she told former CBS 2 reporter Brian Williams at the time. “He’s outgoing, independent, he’s smart.”
But discrepancies in Lodzinski’s story led to police to become suspicious, as a woman standing next to Lodzinski at the carnival concession stand said she never said anything about her child being missing, and no one at the carnival saw a child matching Timmy’s description, according to published reports reported.
Police said Lodzinski later told them that Timmy had been taken away by two men – one of them with a knife – but later confessed that she had made up that story, prosecutors reported. She later allegedly claimed a woman and two men had taken Timmy.
Meanwhile, residents banded together to search for the little boy.
“They looked around for him and did everything they could, but you know, it sounded fishy from the beginning,” said Joan Garguilo of South Amboy. “You don’t have a kid next you and all of sudden he disappears, without notifying someone right away.”
Timmy’s partial remains were finally recovered on April 23, 1992, in a remote section of the Raritan Center industrial park in Edison.
Lodzinski went into seclusion after her son’s remains were discovered and neighbors said at the time that she didn’t appear distraught.
After the discovery, Lodzinski said she couldn’t make people believe her.
“What can I say to people? I don’t know anymore,” Lodzinski said at the time. “How am I supposed to act normally? I don’t think anyone after losing a child should have to go outside and explain to the public how they feel.”
Lodzinski ran into other legal troubles after her son’s death.
She surfaced in Michigan in January 1994 and said two men claiming to be FBI agents had abducted her at gunpoint outside her apartment building, forced her into a black sport-utility vehicle and drove her to Detroit, where they let her out.
She pleaded guilty in 1995 to making false statements to the FBI and fraudulently using the agency’s seal. She was sentenced to probation.
And in 1997, Lodzinski was charged with stealing a computer from her former employer. She pleaded guilty to a theft charge in 1998. A federal judge sentenced her to house arrest after she admitted she committed a crime while on probation.
Investigators said a review of the case and a grand jury indictment led to the new charges against Lodzinski. She has always maintained her innocence.
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