A married New Jersey mother allegedly murdered her 17-month-old son because he was interfering with her affair, prosecutors said.
On May 10, 2018, emergency responders responded to reports of an unresponsive child at around 11:40 a.m. at a home in Gloucester Township, NJ.com reported.
When they arrived, Heather Reynolds, 41, was holding her young son, Axel, and screaming for neighbors to call for help, police reports state, according to the outlet.
“Although no one had accused the defendant of any wrongdoing, she blurted out, ‘It’s not suspicious. I didn’t do anything wrong,’” Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Gallagher said in court on May 18, according to NJ.com.
Witnesses claimed Reynolds had been doing methamphetamine the night before as well as the morning her child was found dead, the prosecutor said.
And “a review of the text messages between the defendant and her boyfriend from the previous night reveal that the defendant was becoming frustrated by the boyfriend’s apparent lack of interest,” Gallagher said in court. “And witnesses also told detectives that the defendant had expressed the sentiment that her toddler son, the victim A.R., was an obstacle to her relationship with her boyfriend.”
Reynolds’ attorney, Michael Testa Sr., noted his client’s husband, Joseph Reynolds, passed away on Nov. 5, although the cause of his death is unclear.
The prosecutor claimed tests later showed traces of isopropyl alcohol in the baby’s blood. He also had bruising around his nose and mouth.
Last June, Medical Examiner Gerald Feigin ruled the toddler’s death a homicide by asphyxia caused when “a wipe containing isopropyl alcohol and detergent was placed over the mouth and nose.”
“This was an absolutely brutal murder and a helpless victim,” Gallagher said, noting the alleged murder would require “commitment” due to how long the cause of death would take.
Defense attorney Testa told the court Reynolds struggles with addiction issues but insisted that she “adamantly denies that she has anything to do with the death of her child.”
This week, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office also claimed Reynolds allegedly hatched a murder-for-hire plot with her boyfriend, Jeffrey Callahan, 44, People reported.
Authorities arrested Callahan on May 19 and charged him with one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder. The following day, Reynolds received the same charge.
A judge has ordered Reynolds to be held pending her upcoming trial. If convicted of killing her son, she faces up to life behind bars.
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