Michelle Lodzinski got away with murder for almost a quarter of a century — but her luck ran out in 2014 after a tip came in that prompted investigators to re-open the cold case of her son Timothy Wiltsey’s murder, who died he was five years old.
Lodzinski was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday after being found guilty last year of the 1991 murder of her son. The mother, who was only 23 at the time, claimed her son had gone missing from a Sayeville, New Jersey, carnival. She still maintains she did not kill her son.
But she had repeatedly been questioned by police after her son’s disappearance, and her story changed multiple times. Her first claim that Timothy vanished at the carnival came under suspicion when there were no witness reports that could place him there. Later, she claimed he was kidnapped at knifepoint. Timothy’s body was found 11 months after he disappeared in a marshy area near where Lodzinski worked. His remains were too far decomposed for authorities to determine a cause of death.
There has never been any direct forensic evidence linking Lodzinski to the crime, but investigators reportedly had focused on her from the beginning. In the end, it was a blanket left over Timothy’s body that helped convinced jurors Lodzinski was responsible, apparently swayed by the prosecutor’s argument that it was a maternal gesture – though there was no concrete evidence linking the blanket to her home.
Prosecutors argued for life imprisonment. “She coldly and callously murdered her child and threw his body in a ditch. She left him to decompose so that a cause of death was never determined,” Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua reportedly said at the sentencing. “A mother who kills her child should spend the rest of her life in prison. The rest of her life.”
Lodsinski did not testify at her sentencing. She will serve out her 30-year sentence in state prison, without the possibility of parole.