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Timothy Wiltsey was a 5 year old boy in South Amboy, NJ who was reported missing by his mother, Michelle Lodzinski, on May 25, 1991 from a local carnival.[1]

His story was featured twice on "America's Most Wanted" and tens of thousands of missing-persons fliers with Timmy's picture were circulated around the country.

In April 1992, Timmy’s remains were discovered in a creek that runs through a remote, marshy area behind Raritan Center, a vast industrial park in Edison, NJ where Lodzinski once worked as a secretary. His murder has never been solved. Michelle Lodzinski was considered the number one suspect in the crime and despite 2 failed lie detector tests and other inconsistencies in her story, she was never charged in the case.

Contents

Circumstances of his disappearance

Michelle Lodzinski was a 23-year-old single mother who told police that she and Timmy went to Holmdel Park in Holmdel, NJ earlier in the day. They left Holmdel Park around 6 pm and got to the carnival at Kennedy Park in Sayreville between 7:00pm and 7:30pm. Lodzinski reported her son missing after she left him waiting in a carnival ride line while she went to get a soda. A massive manhunt followed. The carnival was shut down and the park emptied of carnival goers. Hundreds of volunteers, search dogs and police officers combed the park and nearby fields and woods. Police officers and firefighters searched garbage dumpsters, storm sewers and carnival trailers.

On April 23, 1992, authorities found his remains inside a tire in Red Root Creek off Olympic Drive at Raritan Center. Because of the decomposition of the body, the cause of Timmy's death remains a mystery.

The inconsistencies

Lodzinski had reported to authorities that she and her son had spent time at Holmdel Park earlier in the day. According to park police, the parking lot that she claimed to have parked in was closed that day. Despite claiming to have spent approximately 90 minutes at the carnival, the authorities could find no one who had seen her son with her that night.

Ten days later at a police interview in Sayreville, Lodzinski claimed two men with a knife had taken her son. Later that day she returned to the police station with her sister and a friend and recanted the story.

The following day she returned and told a third story that her son had been taken by two men and a woman. She claimed to have known the woman as Ellen, a go-go dancer and bank teller. This woman was never found.

Remains found

In October 1991, Dan O’Malley of Bound Brook, NJ stumbled upon a child's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sneaker while exploring the marshlands behind Raritan Center. He took the sneaker to the Sayreville Police Department. Later the sneaker was shown to Lodzinski who stated it was not her son’s. The sneaker was then stored in an evidence area and forgotten about.

For six months, O'Malley waited to hear back from the police. When he did not he contacted his local paper and reported his discovery. The paper published a story.

Ron Butkiewicz, an FBI agent who was newly assigned to the Wiltsey case, read about the sneaker, contacted O'Malley and asked him for a tour of the marshes off Olympic Drive where he made his discovery. Butkiewicz reinterviewed all of Lodzinski's friends and relatives. In the course of one interview, a relative told of all the jobs Lodzinski had held, one of which was in Raritan Center. Butkiewitz retrieved a map from his car and asked her to put her finger on the area of the industrial complex where Lodzinski had worked. Her finger on the map simultaneously covered the work location and the spot where the sneaker had been found by O’Malley.

On April 23, 1992, investigators from the Middlesex County, NJ prosecutor's office, the NJ State Police, the Sayreville Police Department and the FBI fanned out across Olympic Drive. In less than a minute, they found a second sneaker 20 to 30 yards from where the first sneaker was found. Two hours later Timothy Wiltsey's skull was discovered inside a tire. Timmy was buried on May 12, 1992 at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Keyport, NJ.

Later developments

On January 21, 1994, Lodzinski's car was found idling outside the Woodbridge, NJ apartment she shared with her brother Edward. The next day Lodzinski turned up in Detroit, MI claiming to have been kidnapped by FBI agents who drove her to Michigan "to teach her a lesson for talking about Timmy." A week after she returned to New Jersey, her brother found an FBI business card with the words "It's not over" taped to their apartment door. FBI agent Ron Butkiewicz was put back on the case. Butkiewicz showed Lodzinski a local printer's work order for FBI business cards. Lodzinski's pager number was on it. Lodzinski admitted to faking the kidnapping but refused to discuss her son’s disappearance. She was sentenced to six months house arrest and three years probation. [2]

In December 1997, Lodzinski pleaded guilty to stealing a laptop computer from her former employer. She was sentenced to three years' probation and spent one day in federal custody for violating the terms of her probation for the FBI hoax. On March 7, 1998, she left New Jersey to live with her sister in Florida.

As of 2001, Michelle Lodzinski resided in Apple Valley, MN with her new family.

References

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