Mother's murder conviction thrown out in New Jersey Supreme Court

She had long denied murdering her son.

December 28, 2021, 2:19 PM

A divided New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out the 2016 conviction of Michelle Lodzinski, a former single mother from South Amboy who was accused of killing her 5-year-old son in 1991 and claiming he disappeared at a carnival.

Lodzinski, 54, is serving a 30-year prison sentence. A judge has just ordered her release from prison.

She has long denied murdering her son, Timothy Wiltsey, and the court said there was never enough evidence to convict.

PHOTO: Michelle Lodzinski during her sentencing hearing, where she was sentenced to 30 years for the 1991 murder of her 5 year-old son Timothy Wiltsey, at Middlesex County Court in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017.
Michelle Lodzinski during her sentencing hearing, where she was sentenced to 30 years for the 1991 murder of her 5 year-old son Timothy Wiltsey, at Middlesex County Court in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017.
The Asbury Park Press via AP, Pool

“After reviewing the entirety of the evidence and after giving the State the benefit of all its favorable testimony and all the favorable inferences drawn from that testimony, no reasonable jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Lodzinski purposefully or knowingly caused Timothy’s death. Even if the evidence suggested that Timothy did not die by accident, no testimony or evidence was offered to distinguish whether Timothy died by the negligent, reckless, or purposeful or knowing acts of a person, even if that person were Lodzinski,” the majority opinion said.

A dissenting opinion said the jury’s conviction was reasonable and overturning it “substitutes” the majority’s own interpretation of the evidence for the conclusion reached by the jury.

Lodzinski had taken Timothy to a carnival on May 25, 1991, at Kennedy Park in Sayreville. He went on several rides before Lodzinski walked over to a concession stand to get a drink while Timothy stood by the side of a trailer, where she could see him. Facing the concessionaire, she paid for the drink. When she turned around, Timothy was gone.

The boy’s remains were found during an April 1992 search in Edison where authorities discovered a child’s bones, including a skull. Dental records revealed that the skull was Timothy’s.

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