‘We were just doing our jobs,’ say Middletown detectives who solved James Hutchinson case

When Brittany Gosney and her boyfriend James Hamilton walked into the Middletown police station on Feb. 28, 2021, lying that Gosney’s youngest child was missing, nobody believed them from the get-go.

That’s where it began: A combined police effort that led to the conviction of Gosney for the murder of 6-year-old James Hutchinson and abuse of his siblings, and Hamilton for abusing all three children and disposing of Hutchinson’s body in the Ohio River.

The gut-wrenching case left the community wrestling with how anyone, let alone a mother, could kill the Rosa Parks Elementary student and throw his body away after abuse that included hog-tying.

ExploreA missing child story didn’t add up, and Middletown faced a tragic week in the case of 6-year-old James Hutchinson

Middletown Officers, Tom McIntosh and Jon Hoover, both detectives in February 2021, will receive the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office Meritorious Award today for their work in solving the boy’s murder.

The detective team spent hours questioning Gosney and Hamilton, eventually getting confessions that led to a fast conviction with guilty pleas in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

While they are appreciative for the recognition, Hoover summed up the sentiment of the former partners: “We were just doing our jobs.”

McIntosh, a 31-year-veteran of the force, said a whole host of people made the investigation a success, from the dispatchers, to patrol officers to crime scene investigators. It did not start or end with the detectives.

“I didn’t start this to get recognized,” McIntosh said. “But, I am thankful for being recognized.”

Hoover agreed, pointing to patrol officers who had the first contact with the couple, were suspicious and placed them in separate rooms awaiting questioning.

“That was huge, because even if they got their stories straight prior, it’s done now. They couldn’t talk about it anymore to each other. So that was key as far as getting confessions out of them,“ Hoover said. “She (Gosney) was immediately lying. And once I called B.S. on her story, it wasn’t difficult to trip them up.”

Hoover, a 28-year-veteran, left the detective section after nine years following the case. But he says it is not “directly” the reason for the change. He is now back on the street as a patrol officer.

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“I liked working the street and I always told myself toward the end I wanted to finish up my career on the street.” Hoover said. “At the end of the day, when your shift is over, you are done. It’s not like that in detectives.”

Hoover said he sometimes thinks about the Gosney/Hamilton case when he is with his grandchildren. But it’s not on his mind daily or weekly.

McIntosh, a detective for 11 years, said the same. On a recent long weekend trip with his wife, they thought about returning home crossing the bridge in Lawrenceburg, Ind., where the boy’s body was thrown in the river. They chose a different route home.

“It’s things like that. It popped into my head,” McIntosh said. “It’s always there. But I usually don’t dwell on cases, especially the ones that are solved.”

Despite many efforts by dive teams, Hutchinson’s body was not recovered. Hoover said that is a loose end.

“I would have loved to have found him, to put him to rest properly,” he said.

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After Gosney’s confession, Hoover and McIntosh drove her to the Indiana bridge in an attempt to pinpoint the exact location where the body was thrown into the river. Hoover said she talked about how much she loved “Big James” Hamilton during the trip.

“I never saw any remorse from her,” Hoover said

Gosney took them to the middle of the bridge and described the body dumping. Cameras on the bridge were too grainy to confirm any information.

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Hoover said both Gosney and Hamilton named the same river as the site of the disposal.

“But no, it is not 100 percent (that they were telling the truth),” Hoover said. He noted there is water at Rush Run Wildlife Area in Preble County where Gosney ran over her son as he clung to her van when she attempted to abandon all three children.

“Why not just put him in the water there?” Hoover said. “Even with confessions you only get half the story. There probably so much that they hid that we will never know.”

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