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Mom guilty of killing 5-year-old son nearly 25 years ago

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 19/05/2016 MEG WAGNER
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The Florida mom of a 5-year-old boy who went missing nearly 25 years ago was found guilty of her son’s murder Wednesday.

A New Jersey jury deliberated for four hours before convicting 48-year-old Michelle Lodzinski, reported.

The mom — who moved to Florida after her boy, Timothy Wiltsey, went missing at a carnival in May 1991 — maintained her innocence after she was arrested in 2014. She pleaded not guilty to murder last September.

But prosecutors claimed the young mother killed her son because he had become a burden to her.

Timothy Wiltsey © ABC Timothy Wiltsey

"She was a young, struggling mother, struggling to survive and take care of her child," Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua told the jury. "Timothy was a burden on her. He was just no longer wanted, and her solution was a life without Timothy."

Little Timothy went missing on May 25, 1991, when they lived in New Jersey. Lodzinski claimed she had taken her son to a carnival in Sayreville, but he vanished when she turned her back to buy a soda.

Michelle Lodzinksi in court. © ABC Michelle Lodzinksi in court.

The young mom claimed Timothy had been abducted, and a team of volunteers scoured the area to look for the missing boy. He was one of the first missing children to appear on milk cartons.

After weeks of searching in the Sayreville area turned up nothing, Wiltsey's remains were found 11 months later, several miles away in a marshy area near a building where Lodzinski once worked, prosecutors said. Near the body were a blanket, a sneaker and a balloon sporting logos of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Timothy's favorite cartoon characters.

Lodzinski wasn't charged until 2014, a few years after prosecutors reopened the case after finding three of Timothy's former babysitters who identified the blanket as coming from Lodzinski's apartment. She was arrested in Florida, where she had been living with her two sons, ages 12 and 16.

People who knew Timothy and were at the carnival didn't see him there on the night in question although they saw Lodzinski, Bevacqua said. Leaving the blanket by the body was something "only a mother would do," she told jurors.

Lodzinski could face life in prison for the cold case murder.

With News Wire Services

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