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Cold case update: Mother charged in son’s 1991 death returning to NJ

STUART, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman arrested in the 1991 death of her 5-year-old son will return to New Jersey to face charges.

Timothy Wiltsey and Michelle Lodzinski
Timothy Wiltsey and Michelle Lodzinski (Martin County, Florida Sheriff’s Office)

Michelle Lodzinski, 46, waived extradition during a Thursday court appearance in Martin County, Florida. Lodzinski was arrested Aug. 7 and charged with murder in the death of her son, Timothy Wiltsey. She had said the boy disappeared at a carnival. But investigators said her story kept changing. His skeletal remains were found in a marshy area of Edison, New Jersey, 11 months later.

Lodzinski has been jailed without bail since her arrest. She initially challenged her extradition, but her attorney Robert Watson said that was simply to give the single mother time to arrange care for her two teenage sons. They will now live with her sister.

Watson said he expects Lodzinski, a paralegal, will be flown to New Jersey in a week to 10 days and she is looking forward to being able to let the facts speak. She denies killing her son.

Florida prosecutor Nita Denton had no comment.

The one-page indictment issued by a grand jury in Middlesex County, New Jersey, doesn’t mention the cause of death or specify what evidence led authorities to charge Lodzinski. The grand jury said she “did purposely or knowingly kill” Timothy or did “purposely or knowingly inflict serious bodily injury” resulting in his death. Watson said investigators took a hair sample from her about a year ago, but she was surprised by her arrest.

Lodzinski went into seclusion after her son’s remains were discovered, and neighbors said at the time that she didn’t appear distraught.

“It’s the way she reacted. That’s why people say she had something to do with it. You should show some emotion — crying, showing something,” Penny Rivers, who lived a block from Lodzinski, told The Associated Press in 1992. “But all the times I saw her on television she didn’t.”

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 SUV 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.

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.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)


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