Eyewitness testimony from 25 years ago and a lack of forensic evidence cast serious doubt on the murder case against a woman accused of killing her 5-year-old son in 1991, her attorney told jurors Wednesday during closing arguments of her trial.
"There is enough reasonable doubt in this case to drive a truck through," attorney Gerald Krovatin said.
Michelle Lodzinski, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, is charged with killing Timothy Wiltsey in May 1991. She told authorities at the time she lost track of her son at a Sayreville, New Jersey, carnival, then she changed her story to say the boy was abducted by one woman and two men.
Despite suspicions about her story, Lodzinski wasn't charged until 2014, a few years after prosecutors reopened the case after finding witnesses who identified a blanket found near Timothy's remains as coming from Lodzinski's apartment.
That would contradict Lodzinski's account of taking the boy to the carnival, prosecutors have contended.
Krovatin told jurors Wednesday that no forensic evidence on the blanket such as hairs or fibers could be traced to Lodzinski or Timothy. He cited the testimony of three carnival workers who told authorities at the time that they saw a boy who looked like Timothy.
Lodzinski was a 23-year-old single mother struggling to make ends meet when her son disappeared. Krovatin disputed implications that she considered her son a burden and noted that she had purchased summer clothes for him in the days before he disappeared.
"She was a loving, devoted mother to this little boy," he told the jury. "She didn't wake up one day and out of the clear blue sky say, 'I'm going to murder my son.'"
Prosecutors were to give their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.
In addition to the witnesses who identified the blanket, prosecutors presented witnesses during the trial who said they saw Lodzinski at the carnival but not her son.
Timothy's remains were found nearly a year later in a marshy area a few miles away. A cause of death couldn't be established because of the body's deterioration.
Lodzinski's trial began in mid-March. She has been held on $2 million bail in New Jersey since her arrest in the summer of 2014.