Florida resident Michelle Lodzinski has made her first appearance in court
after being arrested in August in Florida for the murder of her 5 year
old son 23 years ago. She is being represented by defense attorney Gerald
Krovatin and may also decide to request a Florida co-counsel, Robert White,
to help defend her from the murder charge.
The original investigation into the disappearance of her son, Timothy Wiltsey,
who was a kindergarten student at the time of his disappearance, was dropped
when sufficient evidence indicating what had happened to the boy failed
to materialize. However, the boy's mother was the subject of suspicion
for a long time after the boy's death, although no charges were laid
against her at any time prior to this year's grand jury indictment.
Timothy was reported to have disappeared whilst attending a carnival in
Sayreville, New Brunswick, on May 25
th 1991. It was alleged at the time that Lodzinski had offered differing
accounts to police to explain the disappearance of her son. An extensive
search was carried out but it wasn't until a year later that the little
boy's body was found. Previous to this discovery, two sneakers were
discovered, one after another. Lodzinski denied at the time that she recognized
them as belonging to her son.
The present case against Lodzinski may eventually rest on other pieces
of evidence that have been discovered. A blanket was found with the boy's
body. Again, Lodzinski denied recognizing it, but only recently, a cold
case investigation turned up two witnesses – one a relative and
another, a babysitter, who claim that they recognized the blanket as belonging
to the boy. Another piece of evidence has also been recognized by another
witness - a former friend of the defendant.
The most recent investigation took place in 2011 but it has taken another
3 years for a grand jury in Middlesex County to return an indictment of
murder against Timothy's mother. Following the July verdict, Lodzinski
was arrested in Florida in August, this year.
The case is going to be quite a difficult one to prove as far as the prosecution
is concerned. Prosecutors in criminal cases such as this need to demonstrate
"beyond reasonable doubt" that a person charged with an offense
was guilty. It will be the job of Lodzinski's defense attorneys to
show that the new evidence does not provide sufficient material to justify
a guilty verdict.
The disappearance of Timothy Wiltsey is one of the oldest cold cases to
have ever been not satisfactorily explained in Middlesex County and inevitably
the case is now attracting a lot of media attention.
Lodzinski at first decided that she would not attend any of the status
appearances in court but has been persuaded otherwise by the presiding
Superior Court judge, Robert Ferencz, who recommended her appearance at
every court conference so that she could discuss the case more easily
with her attorney. The defendant has now decided to attend every conference
despite the media attention. At her first appearance she was the subject
of attention by several representatives of the media, with five cameras
focused on her as she entered the courtroom. Lodzinski's one word
answers to Judge Ferencz's questions at her first court appearance
since her son's disappearance provided no clues about what was going
on in her mind or any further insight into how her son had died.