Authorities in Ohio have released more details about the murder of 6-year-old James Hutchinson, raising more questions about the timeline of events as family members remain suspicious about the role of the co-defendant.
James’ mother Brittany Gosney, 29, is in custody on multiple charges, including murder. Her boyfriend, 42-year-old James Hamilton, has been charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. Gosney reportedly told investigators that she dragged and possibly ran over her son during an attempt to abandon him at Rush Run Park in Preble County this weekend, when the little boy tried to hold on to the minivan door as she drove away.
The Preble County Sheriff’s Office released an incident report on Tuesday that indicates Gosney may have left her three children–James, a 7-year-old boy, and a 9-year-old girl–in the parking lot before James was killed. Authorities in Middletown–where James lived with his mother, her boyfriend and his half-siblings–had previously confirmed the older children were at the scene, but indicated the children were inside the vehicle as James was being dragged.
From the report:
“Brittany stated she had planned to get the kids out of the vehicle and leave them behind as Hamilton had been pressuring her to get rid of the kids. When doing this, the 6-year-old, Hutchinson, grabbed onto the door handle. Brittany slammed the gas, trying to leave the kids, and [dragged] Hutchinson, probably running him over. Brittany turned the vehicle around to check on Hutchinson, and he was dead. Brittany then loaded the two live children and Hutchinson back into the vehicle and returned to her and Hamilton’s residence,” which is about a 30-minute drive.
“Hamilton and Brittany placed Hutchinson’s body in a spare room beneath a window. At approximately 0300 hours on February 28, 2021, Brittany and Hamilton drove the Dodge Caravan to the bridge that goes over the Ohio River, and threw Hutchinson’s body into the water below. “
The Preble County Sheriff’s report, which appears to have been compiled from interviews with the defendant as well as information provided by the Middletown Division of Police, shows a somewhat different timeline than what Gosney is believed to have earlier told police in Middletown. Gosney ,who confessed to killing her son during police questioning on Sunday, reportedly told Middletown police that she had left the scene for about 30 to 40 minutes and returned to find James dead with a head injury. The Preble County Sheriff’s report indicates that Gosney did not leave the scene for any significant amount of time.
Asked what might account for the apparent discrepancies, a Middletown police spokesperson said, “the defendant has adjusted the timeline throughout the investigation.” The spokesperson confirmed there are no surveillance cameras that would have captured the incident.
According to the police documents, investigators found “no viable evidence” connected to the crime in the parking lot where James is believed to have died, or in the surrounding area. The documents also show that Gosney claimed she had acted under pressure from Hamilton, who she said “wanted her to get rid of her kids.” Hamilton reportedly told police that he was not at the scene when James was killed, though his estranged wife Priscilla Farley–who is also James’s aunt–said she is not convinced Hamilton wasn’t in the minivan, which is registered to his name.
Gosney is married to, but separated from, Farley’s brother and James’ father Lewis Hutchinson. Farley told CrimeOnline that Gosney and Hamilton began an affair when Gosney and her family were staying at her sister-in-law’s home for several months beginning in 2019. Since moving in with Hamilton, Gosney has become estranged from several of her formerly close family members, and for about a month has blocked them from contacting her or her children.
Priscilla Farley said James’ father had not seen his son since the spring.
Both James’ paternal aunts want answers. His aunt Marlene Farley is skeptical of the stories Goslney has reportedly told police, even beyond the earlier noted discrepancies. Marlene said she is not convinced James’ body is in the river.
She also said that her two children who went to school with James have refused to go back to the place where they would normally look forward to seeing their cousin.
“What is the sense of killing a 6-year-old?” Marlene Farley said. “He was so sweet.”
Police were scheduled to interview Gosney’s older children on Monday. They also served a search warrant on her home.
The Preble County Sheriff did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Brittany Gosney’s surname.
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