Prosecutors say a New Jersey mother killed her toddler son because she thought the little boy was getting in the way of an affair she was reportedly having behind her husband’s back.
Nj.com reports that during a detention hearing in Camden County on Thursday, prosecutors alleged that 41-year-old Heather Reynolds suffocated her son, 17-month-old Axel, by holding a cleaning wipe over his mouth and nose. Reynolds attended the hearing in connection with boy’s May 2018 death, and sobbed while her lawyer maintained she was innocent.
According to officials, shortly after boy passed out, Reynolds ran out of her home off of Marcia Court in Gloucester Township while hold Axel in her arms and screaming for help. First responders found the boy unconscious on the front lawn. He reportedly smelled like alcohol and had bruising on his face.
Although it took prosecutors a year to charge Reynolds, she had reportedly been a suspect since the beginning.
“This was an absolutely brutal murder and a helpless victim,” Assistant Prosecutor Peter Gallagher said.
Reynolds’ defense lawyer, Michael Testa, Sr., argued that although Reynolds was addicted to drugs, she never harmed her child.
Prosecutors, however, said that text messages found on Reynolds’ phone and witness’ interviews indicated that while her boyfriend was losing interest, Reynolds complained that Axel had gotten in the way of her relationship.
“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.
“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.”
Axel’s father, Joseph Reynolds, was away on a work trip when the little boy died. Months later, in November, the boy’s father also passed away. According to his obituary, Joseph “passed away suddenly.”
On the night before Axel’s death, prosecutors said Reynolds’ boyfriend stayed the night with her, but left before she took her son outside and yelled for help.
Blood tests later confirmed that the baby had traces of isopropyl alcohol and acetone in his body. The boy’s death was listed as asphyxia after “a wipe containing isopropyl alcohol and detergent was placed over the mouth and nose.”
On June 13, a grand jury indicted Reynolds on murder charges. Her defense lawyer argued that she should receive bail while awaiting trial, as she has a master’s degree in social work and has done this type of work “for most of her life.”
Gallagher argued that the suspect’s alleged meth use and previous actions made her a risk to the community.
Reynolds was ultimately taken into custody to await trial. If found guilty, she could face life in prison.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Feature Photo: Heather & Axel Reynolds/Facebook]