While NBC’s “Dateline” has provided us with in-depth details on real-life cases since it premiered in 1992, there’s no denying the fact that its focus on the human side does make it stand out in the genre. So aptly titled The Blue Carpet Mystery, Season 30 Episode 24, which explores the shocking disappearance and death of 5-year-old Timothy Wiltsey in 1991, is no exception. So, if you’re interested in learning more, including the background of the victims and (unfortunately) related police investigations and trials, you’ve come to the right place.
How did Timothy Wiltsea die?
Timothy “Timmy” Wiltsey, who was born on August 6, 1985, reportedly doesn’t have a steady parenting number because while his dad isn’t even in the picture, his mom works hard to provide for them. The latter actually considers herself a “weekend mom,” especially as she pursues various personal and professional endeavors, relying on friends, family, and babysitters to care for her son. Yet Timothy remained a kind, kind, and loving little kid, and that’s just one of the many reasons why his sudden disappearance shocked the state of New Jersey.
On May 25, 1991, according to Timothy’s mother, Michelle Lodzinski, the two played together in the park and visited the local petting zoo before heading to the Sailville Carnival. They were apparently celebrating the end of the school year, only that things changed when she left the 5-year-old alone on the catenary to buy lemonade, never to see or hear that he was alive again. Michelle initially admitted she hadn’t seen her son in a while, but added that she contacted police almost immediately when she realised they had separated.
A massive spree at the South Amboy Elk Club was immediately shelved in favor of a full search for Timothy, but there was no indication he was in the area. In fact, despite the officers’ best efforts, almost 11 months later (April 23, 1992), only his skeletal remains were recovered, and also from the swampy area near Edison. Because of the deep decomposition, the coroner was unable to determine when, why or where the boy died, but definitively ruled it was a homicide. This is mainly due to the outrageous way it was discovered.
Who killed Timothy Wiltsea?
Timothy Wiltsey (or rather his bones) is not only surrounded by his clothes, pillowcases and blankets, but also close to where Michelle Lodzinski used to work. The truth is, the change in her account of the matter, combined with her bizarre behavior, has made her the prime suspect, so this new element just repeats the guesswork. While she was initially emotional about the loss of her son, her behavior took a drastic turn days later, when she told investigators he had been kidnapped from the market by two or three men.
In early June 1991, Michelle claimed that several men had terrorized Timothy with a knife after she kidnapped her, but she retracted the entire story that night. In an interview the next day, she insisted she did leave her son with a woman she knew and two men before buying the lemonade, and ended up being kidnapped. She has revised this narrative over time, but its basic essence has remained the same, even though the evidence she supports has never come to light.
The fact that Michelle faked her own kidnapping in 1994 and later stole a laptop from her former employer, allegedly to deflect suspicion against her, doesn’t help either. However, with no physical evidence linking her to Timothy’s death, she was not charged with a crime until a re-investigation revealed further suspicions. Records show she was never abusive, but it has been suggested that her son, who was in his early 20s at the time, viewed her son as a “burden” because he was affecting her life and causing her to kill him. A witness also revealed that the blanket near Timothy’s body came from his mother’s house.