A Hainesport, New Jersey, woman accused of throwing a girl onto the tracks of an oncoming train is set to stand trial.
According to the Courier-Post, Autumn Matacchiera, 20, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to attempted murder charges stemming from the January 27 incident. Burlington police said Matacchiera threw the 5-year-old onto the tracks after a NJ Transit bus driver alerted an officer to her “suspicious” behavior.
The child, who the Hainesport woman didn’t know, was pulled off the tracks before a train hit her. She suffered minor bruises and cuts but was otherwise unharmed, according to NJ.com.
Matacchiera was deemed a danger to herself and committed to a psychiatric hospital. Despite this, she was found competent to stand trial, the Courier-Post reported.
An in-depth feature by the local paper indicated that Matacchiera was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder at three and later autism spectrum disorder. By 13, she was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Anxiety disorder.
The woman’s mother told NJ.com that her daughter has lived in multiple mental health facilities and was repeatedly released despite the family’s objections.
“She is not a criminal,” Laura Matacchiera said. “She has mental health issues. It’s an ongoing problem.”
Shortly following the incident, The Trentonian recovered a blog post supposedly written by Autumn which detailed her mental health issues. A Twitter account appearing to belong to Autumn says that she enjoys helping disabled people and children.
“Hello, my name is Autumn Matacchiera. I am 19 years old. I have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar, and Anxiety,” she wrote.
“I have been in the mental health system for many years and seen some things change things stay the same. I want to help other people who are in it.”
The accused allegedly revealed to the Courier-Post that she planned to sacrifice the child to win the love of an estranged loved one. At that time, the 20-year-old told reporters that she should be imprisoned for the rest of her life for her actions.
“I thought it was just a sacrifice,” she told the local paper from a psychiatric hospital. “I didn’t think it was anything bad. Now, I kind of regret it…People tell me that sacrificing a human isn’t the same as sacrificing the animal.”
Her trial is scheduled for November 8.
[Featured Photo: Burlington City Police Department]