In a blue jumpsuit and shackles, 42-year-old Julianne McCrery appeared in Portsmouth, N.H. District Court today to face charges in the death of her son, 6-year-old Camden Hughes. The boy's body was found dumped on a dirt road in rural Maine a week ago.
McCrery kept her head down, blinking back tears as the prosecutor read charges that included "knowingly causing the death of Camden Hughes by asphyxiation" and "causing a death with extreme indifference to human life."
The judge asked if McCrery wanted to have an attorney appointed by the state and she replied "Yes, ma'am." As she was being led away, flanked by two New Hampshire state troopers, the Texas mother broke down sobbing. McCrery will be held without bail until a probable cause hearing on May 26th.
Earlier in the day, McCrery appeared in a Massachusetts courtroom on fugitive from justice charges. She pled not guilty. Her court-appointed attorney in Massachusetts, George Murphy, told reporters that his client "loves her son and wanted to be with him in heaven." Murphy said he believes his client is suicidal and has said she wants to die. "I said you can go to heaven in a while. Why don't you pray for your son and pray for your family?" said Murphy.
When the body of the young boy was found clothed and abandoned on a rural road in Maine on May 14th, the discovery puzzled investigators. Nobody filed a missing persons report for the boy and a scan of missing persons databases turned up no leads. "He was clean. His fingernails seemed clean and appropriate. He was a small kid, but I don't think he was undernourished. He's a very cute boy, and again, he was clothed well. The sneakers were virtually brand-new on him," Maine State Police Lt. Brian McDonough said Tuesday.
Days after the body was discovered, an eyewitness came forward and reported seeing a truck driven by a woman with a license plate that carried a Navy insignia in the area shortly before the body was discovered. It was the first real lead law enforcement had in the case. On Wednesday, a truck fitting that description was spotted at a Chelmsford, Mass. rest stop and McCrery was taken into custody. "At 10:20 this morning, we received a call from a citizen who had seen prior coverage of this investigation...We responded with several troopers there and engaged...the lone occupant of the vehicle..." said David Procopio, director of communications for the Massachusetts State Police.
McCrery is being held without bail in New Hampshire because that is where law enforcement believe the murder occurred. New HampshireState Police searched the Stone Gable Inn in Hampton, N.H. yesterday. McCrery and her son reportedly stayed at the $175-per-week motel earlier in the month. Law enforcement officials will not say what they were looking for or even if their search is connected to the case.
McCrery is from Texas. An online listing for McCrery shows she self-published a book about how to fall asleep called "Good night, Sleep Tight." In her author's bio she described herself as a former school bus driver and cement mixer. McCrery has an older son serving in the Navy. His Facebook page shows that he works as a chef in the Navy.