Mom charged 20 years after murder, on victim’s birthday

The photo of Michelle Lodzinski was released by the Martin County Sheriff's Office after she was arrested in Florida.

This photo of Michelle Lodzinski was released by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office after she was arrested in Florida.

SAYREVILLE — More than 20 years after 5-year-old Timothy Wiltsey was reported missing from a local carnival by his mother, Michelle Lodzinski, on May 25, 1991, the South Amboy child’s mom was arrested on what would have been his 29th birthday, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Sayreville Police Chief John J. Zebrowski.

Michelle Lodzinski, 47, was was arrested on Wednesday — the day that Timothy Wiltsey would have turned 29 —  in Jensen Beach, Florida and held without bail by a Florida judge after a brief court appearance on camera from jail, where she was wearing an orange jumpsuit Thursday.

It wasn’t known whether she would agree to return to New Jersey, where Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz set her bail at $2 million after a grand jury in Middlesex County handed up a sealed one-count indictment charging her with murder.

Lodzinski, a 23-year-old single mother at the time her son went missing, was sentenced to six months house arrest and three years probation for faking her own kidnapping.

On January 21, 1994, Lodzinski’s car was found idling outside the Woodbridge Township apartment she shared with her brother Edward. The next day Lodzinski turned up in Detroit, Michigan claiming to have been kidnapped by FBI agents who drove her there “to teach her a lesson for talking about Timmy.”

The dead boy’s story was featured twice on America’s Most Wanted and tens of thousands of missing-persons fliers with the child’s picture were circulated around the country.

In April 1992, the child’s remains were discovered in a creek that runs through a remote, marshy area behind Raritan Center, a vast industrial park in Edison, where Lodzinski once worked as a secretary.

Michelle Lodzinski, who was considered the primary suspect in the crime after she failed two lie detector tests and offered numerous inconsistencies in her story.

In December 1997, Lodzinski pleaded guilty to stealing a laptop computer from her former employer. She was sentenced to three years’ probation and spent one day in federal custody for violating the terms of her probation for the FBI hoax.

Lodzinski left New Jersey to live with her sister in Florida in 1998 and in 2001, moved to Apple Valley, Minnesota where she was married and started a new family.

That marriage did not last long and she returned pregnant with her second child in 2003 to Florida, where she bought a small home in Port St. Lucie.

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