NJ mom Heather Reynolds who smothered son to death as he was 'obstacle' to affair gets life in prison
A year after the boy's death, medical examiners determined that 1-year-old Axel had died from asphyxia, and Reynolds was arrested on June 13, 2019
SICKLERVILLE, NEW JERSEY: A New Jersey woman, convicted of murdering her 17-month-old son, will now spend the rest of her life behind the bars, officials said. Heather Reynolds, 45, from Gloucester Township in Camden County was found guilty of the murder of her newborn son Axel Reynolds, after a nine-day trial in July.
Camden County Superior Court Judge Gwendolyn Blue sentenced Reynolds to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Tuesday, Nov 15, reports ABC 6. "Prior to sentencing Reynolds, Judge Blue listened to members of the victim's family discuss how the defendant's crime impacted their lives before pronouncing sentence," the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said in a press release. The defendant also faces an eight-year sentence for child endangerment and a four-year sentence for meth possession.
Police in Gloucester Township responded to a Marcia Court home in Sicklerville on May 10, 2018, after neighbors called to report a toddler found unresponsive on the lawn, a police report stated. Upon their arrival, the officials found Reynolds crying for help while holding her lifeless son in her arms. The officials found bruises around the child’s mouth and nose but Heather said she smelled something similar to alcohol on his face. An autopsy done of the body of the 17-months-old boy determined that his body was a homicide and was caused by suffocation. Her grief-stricken 41-year-old Joseph Reynolds also died nearly six months after her son’s brutal death.
Prosecutors alleged Reynolds smothered Axel with a cleaning wipe which also caused bruises on his mouth and nose. The prosecutors also added that before being accused of killing her son, Reynolds approached an EMT and said “It’s not suspicious. I didn’t do anything wrong.” Reynolds was first arrested back on June 13 in 2019. At that time, she was charged with one count each of murder, possession of methamphetamine, and endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors said the mother murdered her son as she felt he was an impediment to her extramarital affair.
“A review of the text messages between the defendant and her boyfriend from the previous night reveals that the defendant was becoming frustrated by the boyfriend’s apparent lack of interest,” CCPO Homicide Section Chief Peter Gallagher said at the time, according to NJ.com. “And witnesses also told detectives that the defendant had expressed the sentiment that her toddler son, the victim AR, was an obstacle to her relationship with her boyfriend.”
However, in 2021, Heather and her subsequent boyfriend, Jeffrey Callahan were charged with conspiring to have the former boyfriend killed in a murder-for-hire plot. Callahan in July pleaded guilty to witness tampering for withholding evidence. He was sentenced to time served (456 days) and two years of probation, per the Courier Post.