NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A woman who was convicted by a jury of killing her son, Timothy Wiltsey, in 1991 has been sentenced to serve 30 years in state prison.
The nation's attention was captured by the news of his disappearance that fall, with his picture and information shared all over news platforms and throughout the community.
Wiltsey's mother, Michele Lodzinski, kept changing her story about how or if the boy had disappeared, or if he had been abducted.
In January 1994, Lodzinski faked another kidnapping, claiming that Federal Bureau of Invesitgation (FBI) agents had kidnapped her and taken her to Detroit, Michigan to teach her a lesson. Three years later she pleaded guilty to stealing a computer from a former employer.
Both of those cases led to sentences of probation and house arrest, but Lodzinski would not be brought to justice in connection with the death of her son for two more decades.
Her 2016 conviction represented a victory for the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) and its leader Andrew C. Carey. The "cold case" was reportedly re-opened under his predecessor Bruce Kaplan.
"The wheels of justice sometimes move a lot slower than we would like in this business, however, in this case, justice was served," Carey told NJ.com.
Carey praised multiple law enforcement agencies and their officers who worked on the investigations including the MCPO, FBI, and the New Jersey State Police, as well as the Sayreville Police Department officers who first undertook the investigation.
It's now been more than 25 years since Wiltsey disappeared.
Lodzinski, a 23-year-old single mother at the time, had originally told police in 1991 that her 5-year-old son had disappeared from a carnival in Sayreville after she turned her back around to buy a soda at around 7:30 pm.
The carnival was suspended as numerous law enforcement, and volunteer community members frantically searched for Wiltsey until 2 am.
The boy's father George Wiltsey, was eliminated as a suspect in the case after it was determined that he had not seen his son since he was a baby and was in Iowa at the time of the disappearance.
Eventually, Wiltsey's remains were recovered on April 23, 1992, less than a half-mile from where his mother was working. His cause of death was not able to be determined by medical examiners because it had decomposed.
Lodzinski is now 49 years old, and living in Florida until MCPO investigators charged her with the killing in August 2014. She was charged on what would have been Timothy Wiltsey's 29th birthday.
The case was reopened after witnesses found a blanket that police linked to Lodzinski. Even after Lodzinski efforts to hide her numerous crimes such as falsely claiming he was abducted, taking away time on emergency personnel on real emergencies knowing she already killed her son.
Lodzinski appeared to show no remorse for the death of her child, and she declined to address the court at sentencing.
She has remained behind bars since 2014, and has been credited with 884 days jailtime towards her 30-year sentence. She won't be eligible for parole after she serves another 27 years and five months in prison.
Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves, who presided over the trial, also handled the January 5 sentencing, refusing to order a term of "life in prison," which had been requested by Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua.