An Ohio mother accused of abandoning her three children in a park and killing one as he desperately tried to get back into their car has pleaded guilty.
Brittany Gosney, 29, of Middletown, pleaded guilty to murder and two felony counts of child endangerment Monday as part of a plea deal in the February death of her 6-year-old son, James Hutchinson, whose body is still missing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Gosney initially claimed she was not guilty by reason of insanity, but a psychological evaluation found her competent to stand trial. She had faced a total of 16 charges, including kidnapping, after authorities said she admitted abandoning her son and his two siblings, ages 7 and 9, at a Preble County park on Feb. 26, WXIX reported.
Authorities said 6-year-old James grabbed for the car’s door handle but fell as Gosney tried to speed away.
He fatally struck his head while being dragged, police said.
Gosney left the park, but returned for her three children about 40 minutes later and found James dead and her other two kids unharmed, according to authorities.
The 29-year-old mom then returned to their home, according to court documents cited by the station.
Gosney and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, 43, put her son’s body in a spare bedroom for two days before dumping it in the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, court records show.
A concrete block was tied to the first-grader’s body before it was thrown into the water, WXIX reported.
Gosney told investigators she had been pressured by Hamilton to get rid of her children in late February. Cops believe the woman intended to leave all three youngsters at the park that day, WLWT reported.
“It absolutely is justice,” Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said of Gosney pleading guilty. “When you have accountability for the principle charge, the most that could have happened was the charge she pled guilty to. That is justice for this child.”
James’ body is still believed to be in the Ohio River for reasons that “will become clear later,” Gmoser said. An initial search for the boy was hampered by flooding and multiple efforts since that time have been unsuccessful.
“We are still actively searching for James,” Middletown spokeswoman Shelby Quinlivan told the Enquirer Monday.
Search efforts will resume later this week if conditions allow, Quinlivan said.
Gosney faces 15 years to life in prison when she’s sentenced on Sept. 13.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is facing charges including kidnapping and gross abuse of a corpse in the February incident.
He has pleaded not guilty and appeared briefly before a judge Monday. Hamilton remains held on $750,000 bond and is due back in court later this month, WXIX reported.