A jury of seven men and five women found Michelle Lodzinski guilty of murdering her 5-year-old son Timothy Wiltsey, nearly 25 years ago after claiming he disappeared from a carnival on May 25, 1991.
The jurors deliberated only about four hours after an eight week trial in which the mother’s fluid story about her son either disappearing or being taken from her during Memorial Day weekend in 1991 crumbled under the weight of evidence presented to the jury.
Lodzinski’s changing stories about the boy’s disappearance and such erratic behavior as faking her own kidnapping contributed to suspicion of her guilt.
The child’s skeletal remains were found nearly a year later in a marsh in Raritan Center in Edison,
Timmy Wiltsey’s face was one of the first to appear on a milk carton as part of a national campaign to raise awareness about missing children.
Although Lodzinski — a 23-year-old single mother when the boy vanished — had been suspected since her son’s disappearance, it took more than two decades for prosecutors to build a case against her.
The evidence that proved crucial in the case was a blanket discovered near the child’s remains that prosecutors said was seen in Lodzinski’s South Amboy home after her son’s reported disappearance.
“She dumped his body in a creek like a piece of trash, but she left behind a telling clue: this blanket, ” said Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua. “No other killer could get this.”
She was arrested in 2014 in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where she was residing with her two teenage sons who were born after the death of her first child.
The verdict came just one week shy of the 25th anniversary of Lodzinksi’s report to police that her son went missing from a Sayreville carnival.
Prosecutors believe the boy was never at the carnival with his mother and Lodzinski killed him somewhere else and then devised the kidnapping story.
According to FBI records that were released by the defendant’s brother last year, Lodzinski told Sayreville Police she encountered a woman named Ellen at the carnival whom she knew from her job as a teller at Amboy-Madison Bank where “Ellen” used to cash her welfare checks. At one point, Lodzinski said the woman confronted her with a knife and abducted Timothy.
She initially told police that she lost the boy when the two of them became separated in a crowd at the fair.
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