The search for James Hutchinson: Butler County Sheriff’s Office sends helicopter to search Ohio River

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the search for the body of 6-year-old James Hutchinson in the Ohio River. Multiple assets from their Emergency Response Unit, including a helicopter, are on the scene.

Multiple agencies responded to search the area near Lawrenceburg, Ind. near the Ohio River.

“This is a multi-agency effort working together as one,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said in a release.

ExploreThe search for James Hutchinson: ‘Uncontrollable elements’ add difficulty in recovery from Ohio River

Recovering a body from a river is “difficult” under ideal conditions, but when the water level is elevated and the current is swift, the search becomes more dangerous and lowers the odds of a recovery.

“A needle in a haystack” is how Capt. Rick Bucheit from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office described a river recovery. “There are so many variables. When you consider all of them, you realize how difficult it can be.”

Bucheit said those searching for the body of a 6-year-old Middletown boy, who allegedly was thrown into the Ohio River by his mother and her boyfriend, are dealing with increased water speeds that are carrying large amounts of debris.

The Ohio River has been deemed too dangerous to search for James, 6, a first-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary School, most of this week. The river was at 56 feet, 9 inches Thursday and expects to crest at 57 feet, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service in Wilmington. That’s the highest since the river measured at 55.46 feet on Feb. 13, 2019 in Cincinnati, according to the NWS.

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

One week ago, Brittany Gosney and boyfriend James Hamilton walked into the Middletown police headquarters with her two children in tow and a story that 6-year-old James Hutchinson was missing from their Crawford Street house.

Less than 45 minutes later, that house had been locked down by police and detectives as Hamilton filled out a missing person report.

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 to abandon them. Prosecutors believe that happened on Friday, Feb. 26.

Gosney chose the rural location because she and Hamilton had taken the kids fishing there, according to the Preble County Sheriff’s 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.

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

Gosney and Hamilton put Hutchinson’s body in a spare room under a window at the Crawford Street home. At about 3 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, they drove down Interstate 275 in the van to the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, area and threw the body into the Ohio River, according to police.

Gosney and Hamilton were indicted on Friday on 31 combined felony charges that allege crimes against all three children, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children for Gosney and kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and endangering children for Hamilton.

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