A mother and her boyfriend went tot he Middletown Police Department on Sunday morning to file a missing persons report for 6-year-old James Robert Hutchinson. When the two began to give conflicting statements, it did not bode well.
A search effort was immediately launched for James, but before the end of the day officers issued an updated statement indicating that the mother, 29-year-old Brittany Cosney and her boyfriend, 42-year-old James Hamilton had both been arrested and were facing charges.
According to information released by investigators, Cosney admitted that she had taken James and her two other children to Rush Run Park in Preble County on Friday with the intention of abandoning him there. When he had attempted to get back into the car, she stated that she sped off and seemed to drag him "for a distance."
She did not return to the parking lot for 30-40 minutes. When she did, she allegedly told officers that she had found James with a head injury, lying in the parking lot and presumed that he was dead.
Cosney and Hamilton placed his body back into the vehicle and returned it to Middletown where they lived. Cosney then took his body to an upstairs bedroom before dumping his body into the Ohio River according to the criminal complaint.
Officers are conducting a search of the river in an effort to retrieve his body, but are being hampered by the current state of the river.
"We will be working with trained searchers in an attempt to recover James' body," Middletown Police Chief David Birk said. "The river is very high and treacherous, so we will not be disclosing the exact location in hopes of avoiding another tragic incident."
Birk disclosed that there is a lot of unknowns with the investigation at this time due to the conflicting reports from Cosney and Hamilton, but he did state that from their investigation it seemed as though her intention was to abandon all three children at the park though they never exited the vehicle.
"The mother is not showing much remorse at this time," Birk said during a press conference, "but she has confessed to doing this. That's why we're able to get these charges. We'll known more once James is recovered and the coroner is able to do an autopsy."
The Department of Children's Services has been in contact with the family in the past but the specifics of that involvement was not disclosed. The remaining two children, a boy and a girl that are both in the second grade, have been taking into protective custody and are now with foster families.
Cosney has been charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Her bond was set at $1 million during their arraignment today.
Hamilton has been charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. His bond was set at $100,000.
Both are due back in court on March 8, 2021.
The school is hosting an event in honor of James tomorrow night at the Barnitz Stadium at 6:45 pm. Middletown School Superintendent Marlon Styles invited the public to unite as a community to "celebrate the bright joy that James was."