Police: Mother, boyfriend stories ‘identical’ on Ohio River disposal of 6-year-old Middletown boy

Although their stories don’t match in some areas, a Middletown woman and her boyfriend have been consistent in their statements about disposing of her 6-year-old son’s body in the Ohio River, police said.

Officials have been unable to search the river for two days because of how high it is, but Brittany Gosney and James Hamilton told police they put the dead boy’s body in the river sometime on Saturday.

She is charged with murder after telling police she took her son, James Hutchinson, to a Preble County park to abandon him and then ran him over and killed him when he tried to get back into the vehicle early Saturday morning. Two of his siblings were also in the vehicle at that time. She reported him missing on Sunday morning.

It didn’t take long for Middletown police to determine the story Gosney and Hamilton were telling about her son disappearing from their Crawford Street house Saturday night wasn’t true.

Middletown police Chief Birk said while Gosney and Hamilton gave conflicting statements about some aspects of the child’s death, the part about dumping the body is the same. Gosney has been given a lie detector test.

“In the beginning they had different statements about when they last saw the child,” Birk said. “But when it comes down to the details of this part, it’s identical.”

They made the missing child report for James Hutchinson at about 10:15 a.m. Sunday. By about 3:20 p.m., Middletown detectives and Preble County Sheriff’s deputies were at state park Rush Run Wildlife Area off Ohio 127, where she said the death happened.

According to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office report, Gosney said she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of Hutchinson and his two siblings, ages 9 and 7. The 29-year-old mother drove the three children in a 2005 Dodge Caravan to Rush Run at about 3 a.m. Saturday to abandon them, according to Middletown and Preble reports.

Gosney chose the rural location because she and Hamilton had taken the kids fishing there, according to the PCSO report.

“Brittany admitted she 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,” Preble County Capt. Andrew Blevins said in the report.

Middletown police detective Tom McIntosh drove Gosney from Middletown to the parking lot near the boat dock so she could show law enforcement were the incident happened.

Hutchison grabbed onto the door handle, and when Gosney slammed the gas trying to leave the kids, Hutchinson was dragged and hit, according to law enforcement.

Gosney and Hamilton put Hutchinson’s body in a spare room under a window. At approximately 3 a.m. Sunday, they drove on I-275 in the van to the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, area and threw the body in the Ohio River, according to police.

Gosney is charged with murder, abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence. Hamilton, 42, is charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Bond was set Monday in Middletown Municipal Court at $1 million for Gosney and $105,000 for Hamilton. They are scheduled to be back in court next week for preliminary hearings. They remained housed Tuesday in the Middletown City Jail.

During the arraignment hearing, Gosney told Judge James Sherron, “I have a learning disability. I don’t understand what you are saying” after he read the charges against her and asked if she wanted a court-appointed attorney.

Crews were not able to search the Ohio River on Tuesday or Wednesday for the body because of the high level of the river. Middletown Police Birk said the water level will be checked every day to determine whether it’s safe to search for Hutchinson, who was a first-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary School.

At a memorial Monday night, Lewis Hutchinson, James’ father, said he wants justice for his son.

“I don’t know how somebody could be a monster and do something like that to a 6-year-old. And his own mother at that,” Lewis Hutchinson said. “When I was fighting to get him why didn’t she just give him to me.”

He said it is difficult to process what happened.

“I want justice, I want them both to rot that’s what I want,” Lewis Hutchinson said.

He said James was a loving child.

“He was really funny. He just brought joy to everybody … he was a great kid. He was my world,” Lewis Hutchinson said.

Birk said Butler County Children Services had been involved with the family in the past. James’ siblings have now been placed in foster care.

Middletown Schools officials said grief counselors were available on Monday. They also held a vigil Tuesday night at Barnitz Stadium.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said after talking with Preble County Prosecutor Martin Votel, the decision was made to litigate the case in Butler County, where “85% of the crime was committed.”

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