Prosecutor: Mom Smothered Toddler Because He Interfered with Affair
GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP — Prosecutors say a mother charged with murdering her her toddler smothered him because she felt he was getting in the way of her extramarital affair.
The 1 1/2-year-old boy, Axel Jayce Reynolds, was found dead before noon on May 10, 2018, on the front lawn of his mother's home in the Sicklerville section Gloucester Township. No arrest was immediately made after his death.
Heather Reynolds, 41, was arrested June 13. A grand jury handed up indictments after the panel was presented the post-mortem examination of the toddler's body, which determined that the cause of the child’s death was asphyxia and the manner of death was homicide. Reynolds was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree child endangerment, third-degree possession of methamphetamine and third-degree hindering arrest.
Assistant Prosecutor Peter Gallagher on Wednesday said Reynolds suffocated her son by holding a cleansing wipe over his nose and mouth.
An EMT responding in 2018 said he thought the child drank something poisonous because he smelled alcohol around the child, Gallagher told the judge, according to a NJ.com report. When the EMT said the child had been dead for longer than that same day, Reynolds changed her story about what happened, Gallagher said.
Gallagher told the judge that blood tests revealed isopropyl alcohol and acetone were found in the toddler's bloodstream.
NJ.com reported Gallagher told the judge that text messages between Reynolds and another man indicated that Reynolds believed her son was "an obstacle" preventing their relationship from progressing. Reynolds' husband died in November, according to his obituary.
A judge eventually ruled that Reynolds will remain jailed until her trial, noting she faces a possible life sentence.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report