Mysterious death: 3-year-old’s father charged with his murder
David Creato Jr. — the 22-year-old father of a 3-year-old boy found mysteriously dead in the woods half a mile from his Haddon Township home — has been indicted in the boy's murder, authorities announced Monday.
But authorities are saying little about how they determined David Creato killed Brendan Link Creato — having not even said before Monday they believe the boy's death was a homicide.
David Creato, identified in some reports as DJ Creato, is also charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said Monday.
David Creato reported his son missing form the 100 block of Cooper Street at 6 a.m. on Oct. 19. A K9 unit found Brendan in a wooded area off South Park Drive in Haddon Township deceased shortly before 9 a.m., authorities have said.
“I just woke up and my 3-year-old is missing,” David Creato could be heard saying on a 911 call from his Haddon Township home at about 6 a.m. Oct. 13.
David Creato, Jr. was taken into custody at approximately 2:15 p.m. Monday in Washington Township, the county prosecutor's office said; a NBC10 report said that happened at his job. He was being held at the Camden County Jail.
An arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Edward J. McBride Jr. at the Camden County Hall of Justice.
The prosecutor's office said it wouldn't be making any further statement, to avoid prejudicing David Creato's right to a fair trial.
Authorities have been largely quiet about the case since Brendan's body was discovered, declining to make any statement as to whether the death was intentional or accidental. But police did say in October there were no signs of a break-in at the home. An initial autopsy proved inconclusive. Toxicology tests reportedly came back negative.
Richard J. Fuschino, the attorney for David Creato, said in October that based on conversations with investigators, he did not believe his client was a suspect.
Reports in November said Brendan's aunt, 20-year-old Sarah Jessica Creato, had testified before a grand jury in the case.
Reports emerged in late October month of witnesses saying the Brendan mysteriously went missing and died, an older man was seen with a baby carriage nearby.
It was one of several details in a report by PhillyVoice.com, which quoted Haddon Township resident Mark Hoover saying he’d seen an older white man wheeling a baby carriage toward Cooper River Park early in the morning of Oct. 13.
The report quoted Hoover saying the white man pushing the carriage wore a yellow sweater, tan pants and eyeglasses, and appeared to be at least 60. The man was reportedly out with the stroller before sunrise, and the carriage was covered with a blanket.
Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Spokesman Andy McNeil told New Jersey 101.5 at the time he couldn’t comment on the reports of a man with a stroller because of the ongoing investigation.
But he did briefly confirm other aspects of the report. Brendan had reportedly been in his father’s care the night he went missing. In a 911 recording previously released by the prosecutor’s office, his father, DJ Creato, is heard saying the doors to his home were locked.
McNeil also told New Jersey 101.5 at the time investigators are aware of two other details reported by PhillyVoice.com:
• The report quoted Tumblr posts by a person it describes as David Creato’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Julia “Julie” Spensky, in which she said she’s learned she could be facing “criminal charges in a homicide investigation” and that “my boyfriend is in worse trouble than I am and can’t leave the state he’s in.”
The Tumblr posts also reportedly discuss Spensky illegally working under the table for the family business that also employed David Creato, and claiming that it’s actually affiliated with a man charged in several alleged business schemes.
• The PhillyVoice report also said a no-longer-online YouTube trailer made by Sarah Jessica Creato featured Brendan Creato in the role of a toddler named “Mikey” who disappeared. David Creato Sr., the boy's grandfather, reveals the disappearance in the trailer, the report said. At the end of the trailer, viewers learn “Mikey” had died, according to the report. The report said the trailer was apparently made for a college class, but it wasn’t clear from the report how long ago it was produced and posted.
New Jersey 101.5 has not seen the Tumblr posts or the YouTube video. But McNeil, in a brief email in October, said detectives have been aware of both.
In an NBC10 report at the time, Brenna, Sarah Jessica Creato’s lawyer, called the video an uncanny coincidence.
“It’s a red herring,” he reportedly said. “I would just encourage people not to focus too much on it. It’s a waste of time.”
Neighbors said in October they were sure David Creato was innocent.
“He’s a baby, and some stranger out there did this, and they need to find who did this,” Bernadette Ferraro said. In a brief interview with New Jersey 101.5 in October, she said over and over again she knew the father wasn’t responsible.
“We know that it’s not somebody from this town. It’s not his family. It’s not his father. A stranger did this,” she said. “We know the father. He said ‘I don’t want a lawyer, I didn’t do this. Please find the person that did this.’ He didn’t do this. Please let him go.”