A New Jersey mother has been charged with murder and child endangerment in connection with the death of her 17-month-old son last year.
It comes as prosecutors on June 26 alleged during a detention hearing that 41-year-old Gloucester Township resident, Heather Reynolds, murdered her toddler in May 2018 because she believed he was getting in the way of her affair, reported ABC 7.
Reynolds, who reportedly has two other young sons, could face up to life in prison if she is found guilty.
The woman suffocated her toddler son, Axel, Camden County prosecutors said. However, Reynold’s attorney argued that she wasn’t involved in her son’s death.
Reynold’s attorney, Michael Testa Sr., said June 26, “She adamantly denies that she has anything to do with the death of her child.”
Reynolds carried her unresponsive son in her arms as she ran from her home screaming for help from her neighbors, officials told the media.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) 27 June 2019
Emergency services rushed to the scene where they found Axel unconscious on the lawn of his Reynold’s home where he was pronounced dead shortly later.
The boy’s face was reportedly bruised and he smelled of rubbing alcohol, which led prosecutors to believe that Reynold suffocated her son using a cleansing wipe containing various chemicals, reported NJ.com.
After an autopsy was performed on the boy’s body, it was found that the cause of death for the 17-month-old was asphyxia, when the body is deprived of oxygen. Traces of chemicals were found in the boy’s blood, reported Crime Online.
Axel’s manner of death, which was initially considered suspicious, was ruled a homicide, according to reports.
He was almost 18 months old when he was killed last May in Sicklerville. Now more than a year later Axel Reynolds’s mother is charged with his murder. 41 yo Heather Reynolds was taken into custody last night @6abc (pic of Axel at 7 mos) pic.twitter.com/BWK41e6HpU
— Annie McCormick (@6abcAnnie) 14 June 2019
“This was an absolutely brutal murder and a helpless victim,” Assistant Prosecutor Peter Gallagher said during the detention hearing on June 26, according to NJ.com.
Gallagher also alleged that the woman showed a certain level of “commitment” in murdering her son because of the amount of time it took, reported the New York Daily News.
Just hours before Axel’s death, Reynold also allegedly used methamphetamine, witnesses claim, according to local reports. Residue of the drug was allegedly found in her bag.
Before the boy’s death, prosecutors claimed that Reynolds was having an extramarital affair with a man while her husband wasn’t around, and that she was having trouble with her boyfriend, referring to witness interviews and text messages between the pair.
“A review of the text messages between the defendant and her boyfriend from the previous night reveal that the defendant was becoming frustrated by the boyfriend’s apparent lack of interest,” Gallagher said.
“And witnesses also told detectives that the defendant had expressed the sentiment that her toddler son, the victim A.R., was an obstacle to her relationship with her boyfriend,” he added.
Mother ‘suffocated toddler to death because he was getting in the way of her affair’ https://t.co/Gc5oqDj6ai
— Glen Nicklasson (@Solidaritysw) 27 June 2019
According to reports, Reynold’s boyfriend stayed at her home overnight, allegedly just hours before Axel died. Her husband was reportedly away on a work trip at the time.
Months after the incident, Axel’s father, Joseph Reynolds, died suddenly, although the cause of his death is still uncertain, reported Oxygen. He “passed away suddenly,” last year on Nov. 5, at the age of 41, according to his obituary.
The woman’s attorney argued she has “suffered greatly as a result of this,” and is seeking medical help for her drug addiction.
The 41-year-old, who has no previous convictions, now faces a possible life sentence if found guilty, a judge said. He ruled Wednesday that as she is deemed a risk to the community, she will remain behind bars until her trial.