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Deputy: Ohio mom Brittany Gosney said boyfriend pressured her to abandon children

One child, 6-year-old James Hutchinson, was killed when she tried to leave him behind.
WCPO james hutchinson.png
Posted at 3:26 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 17:26:09-05

Brittany Gosney, the Middletown, Ohio, mother accused of killing her six-year-old son, told police she had intended to abandon all three of her children in response to pressure from her boyfriend, James Hamilton.

Six-year-old James Hutchinson’s death at the scene of the attempted abandonment changed the plan, according to a deputy’s account of the incident in a Preble County Sheriff’s Office report. Gosney loaded the boy’s body back into her car alongside his living siblings and drove home, concealing the body in an upstairs bedroom overnight and dumping it in the Ohio River the next day.

The report supports the information provided Monday by Middletown police Chief David Birk, whose jail currently holds both Gosney and Hamilton.

According to Birk and the Preble County report, the pair came to the Middletown Police Department on Sunday morning to report Hutchinson missing.

Police became suspicious when the pair could not agree on when they had last seen the 6-year-old — most parents of missing children report their disappearances within a few hours, according to Birk. Gosney and Hamilton alternatively said they last had seen Hutchinson on Saturday night and Friday morning.

Gosney and Hamilton were arrested and questioned separately, at which point Gosney confessed to killing her son, according to Birk.

She said she left him in a parking lot at the Rush Run Wildlife Area, a Preble County park, and drove away, dragging Hutchinson as he attempted to hold on to her car.

The Preble County report from Capt. Andrew Blevins alleges new details — foremost among them that she had intended to leave Hutchinson’s second-grade brother and sister, too, and they had been in the parking lot with him while she drove away.

“Brittany stated that she knew the area because she and Hamilton had taken the children fishing at this location,” according to Blevins's report. “Brittany stated she had planned to get the kids out of the vehicle and leave them behind as Hamilton had been pressuring her to get rid of the kids.”

The report also indicates Gosney may have run her son over while dragging him.

“Brittany turned the vehicle around to check on Hutchinson and he was dead,” the report reads.

She put the body in her car alongside Hutchinson’s brother and sister, who had not attempted to hold on to the car and were unharmed.

She and Hamilton hid Hutchinson’s body in their Middletown home overnight before driving an hour away to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where they threw it into the Ohio River. The body had not been recovered by Tuesday afternoon.

Gosney had periodic interactions with children and family services in the past, according to Birk; her children were in and out of Middletown City Schools, and their family occasionally lived in hotels. She had a fourth child over whom she lost custody before Hutchinson’s death.

The boy’s older brother and sister were placed in foster care after her arrest.

Birk said Hamilton had been cooperative when questioned by police, but Gosney showed little remorse.

“We don’t understand it either,” he said of Gosney on Monday. “That’s something that she can only answer, and again — conflicting stories back and forth.”

Hutchinson’s biological father, Lewis Hutchinson, attended a Monday night vigil in the boy’s memory. Like staff members at James' school, he described his son as a kindhearted, outgoing and affectionate child.

"He always loved to give hugs to people and everything,” Lewis Hutchinson said. “He was a great kid. He brought joy to everybody.”

This article was written by Sarah Walsh for WCPO.