The lead prosecutor has responded to claims that Brittany Gosney’s family had previous contact with child protective services before the presumed murder of her 6-year-old son James Hutchinson in Ohio late last month.
During a press conference last week following Gosney’s confession to killing her son, Middletown Police Chief David Birk said: “Children services had been in touch with (the family) in the past. They have bumped around from hotels in different areas, they were in and out of the Middletown school district. So children services have been in touch with them in the past.”
In a statement given to WHIO, the Butler County Prosecutor’s office responded to the claim, clarifying that Butler County Children Services had not been in contact with Gosney or her children prior to James’s death. Prosecutor Mike Gmoser additionally said that it was inappropriate for a law enforcement agency to comment on any previous contact a victim’s family had with child services during an active investigation.
“We have some fairly definite rules that apply to disclosure of children’s services information,” Gmoser told CrimeOnline in a phone interview. “And for any agency to be putting that out publicly, it can cause us grievous harm when it comes to investigations and cooperation.”
“There was not a prior history,” Gmoser continued. “However tragic and horrible this case is factually, I don’t want there to be misinformation about any issue in this case.”
In response to an inquiry about the child services claims, a Middletown police spokesperson shared the following statement:
“During the investigation, Ms. Gosney stated to detectives that she had previously contacted child services. Chief Birk did not name a specific agency in the press conference on March 1.”
Last week, police indicated that Gosney had a fourth child who is not in her custody. Gosney’s sister-in-law, who did not know Gosney at the time that child was born, said that Gosney does have a child who she gave birth to when Gosney was a minor, and that child was “adopted out.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Middletown police noted that Gosney “adjusted” the timeline she provided to police after confessing to killing her son. Additionally, an incident report from the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, which is the lead agency on the physical search for James’ body, said that “no viable evidence” was found in the parking lot of a wildlife park where Gosney told police she had dragged or possibly run over her son with while attempting to abandon James and his two half-siblings. James reportedly held on to a car door as she drove away.
Investigators still have not found James’ body, which Gosling said she and her boyfriend James Hamilton tossed into the Ohio River. Last week, Chief Birk said he is confident the little boy’s body is in the river, as the location of his body is one of “few consistent pieces of information” the co-defendants gave police. Investigators have had limited opportunity to extensively search the river due to dangerous water conditions, but searchers spent six hours by the riverbank on Sunday, without finding James.
Both Gosney and Hamilton, 42, have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them. A trial is expected to begin in May, though it is not yet clear if the defendants will be tried together or separately. At this time, only Gosney is charged with murder, and police documents indicate that Hamilton was not at the scene with Gosney and the children at the time of James’ death.
Asked how the prosecution might proceed without a body and with possible misinformation provided by the defendants, Gmoser said, “I will overcome it with evidence. You don’t know what I have.”