MIDDLETOWN — UPDATE @ 3 p.m. (March 1):
Recovery efforts are continuing along the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana where the body of 6-year-old James Hutchinson was dumped after his death in Preble County this weekend, according to Middletown Police Chief David Birk.
Birk, along with Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson and Middletown City Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles held a news conference Monday afternoon with new details into the death of Hutchinson.
Police first made contact with Hutchinson’s mother, Brittany Gosney, 29, and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, 42, around 10:15 a.m. Sunday morning after the two went to the Middletown police station to report the boy had been missing since Saturday, Birk said. The Middletown police supervisor felt the report was “suspicious” and requested assistance from detectives.
During the subsequent investigation, police learned Gosney tried to abandon all three of her children at Rush Run Wildlife Area, but took two of them back, Birk said. However the events that specifically led to Hutchinson’s death were still unknown because police need an autopsy report to confirm the boy’s manner of death.
Gosney told police she went to Rush Run Wildlife Area “because she and Hamilton had taken the children fishing” at the location.
A Preble County Sheriff’s Office report said that “Brittany stated Hamilton wanted her to get rid of her kids.”
“Brittany stated she had planned to get the kids out of the vehicle and leave them behind as Hamilton had been pressuring her to get rid of the kids,” the report read.
According to court records, Gosney told police she drove off at a “high rate of speed, dragging the child for a distance,” a detective said in the document.
After recovering the Hutchinson’s body later, Gosney brought back to their Middletown home, where they kept him in a spare bedroom, according to an incident report. Around 3 a.m. Sunday, investigators said Gosney and Hamilton drove from Middletown down about a hour to Lawrenceburg, Indiana and disposed of Hutchinson’s body in the Ohio River, near the I-275 bridge.
Those recovery efforts are still underway Monday afternoon and involve several agencies, Birk said.
“We’re hoping to locate (Hutchinson) as soon as we can,” Birk said.
Potential motives are still unknown in the investigation, however Birk said Gosney has not shown much remorse for the incident during interviews with police.
“The mother is not showing much remorse at this time. She’s not really saying what the motive was,” Birk said during the news conference.
Birk added that conflicting stories have painted a difficult picture for investigators who are still trying to get more details into what led to the boy’s death.
Hutchinson’s two siblings, both second graders, are in foster care, Birk said. He added that children’s services had been in contact with the family before.
Gosney had a fourth child but that child has been in foster care and adopted before Hutchinson’s death and she did not have custody of that child, Birk said.
Investigators said they have the vehicle that was believed to have been used to transport Hutchinson’s body to the Ohio River in Indiana, however officers are still awaiting to conduct a search warrant on the vehicle.
This is a developing story and we’ll continue to add new details as they become available.
Newly obtained court documents detail the final moments of James Robert Hutchinson’s life, the 6-year-old Middletown boy who police said was killed in Preble County and his body dumped in the Ohio River.
Hutchinson’s mother, Brittany Gosney, 29, and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, 42, are both facing charges in the child’s death and made initial court appearances Monday afternoon.
Gosney is facing preliminary charges of murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Hamilton has been charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
Both entered not guilty pleas with bond set at $1 million for Gosney and $100,000 for Hamilton. Both will appear in court next on March 8 at 1:30 p.m.
According to court records obtained by News Center 7 Monday, Gosney said Hutchinson was killed at Rush Run Wildlife Area, a park run by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, located between Somerville and Camden in southern Preble County.
Court documents indicate Gosney admitted to investigators she drove the boy to the park and was planning on leaving the child there but he attempted to get back in the vehicle.
“(Gosney) told me that after placing the child outside of her vehicle, he attempted to get back into the vehicle and she drove off at a high rate of speed, dragging the child for a distance,” a Middletown police detective said in the statement of facts document.
Gosney then told police she left the park, only to return about 30 to 40 minutes later to find Hutchinson in the middle of the parking lot, dead and suffering from a head injury, court documents allege.
After finding the child dead, Gosney said she picked up Hutchinson’s body, brought it back to their home on Crawford Street in Middletown and placed him in an upstairs bedroom, police said. The next day, Gosney drove to an undisclosed location along the Ohio River and disposed of the child’s body, investigators said in the court documents.
Middletown police initially took to social media Sunday looking for help in finding Hutchinson, who was first reported as missing by Gosney.
According to a police incident log, Gosney and Hamilton called Middletown police to report him as missing around 10:15 a.m. Sunday. In the police complaint, the two said they woke up to find Hutchinson was gone and they had been searching for him for hours.
Further investigation through interviews uncovered the details about the boy’s death and Gosney’s alleged involvement, investigators said.
The search for Hutchinson’s body continues along the undisclosed location on the Ohio River. Middletown police declined to release the location, citing hazardous water conditions caused by weekend heavy rains and snow melt.
A Middletown City Schools spokesperson confirmed Hutchinson was a first grader at Rosa Parks Elementary. His two siblings, who have been removed from the home by police, are also students at the school.
Grief counselors are on hand at the school today, the district spokesperson said. A celebration of life ceremony will be held later in the week.
A news conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday with Middletown Police Chief David Birk, Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson, and Middletown City Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles.
We’ll continue to update this story as we learn more.