A Texas woman was arrested in Massachusetts following accusations that she killed her young son, whose body was found along a dirt road in Maine, prosecutors said late Wednesday.
The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said 42-year-old Julianne McCrery of Irving, Texas, was arrested Wednesday on a fugitive-of-justice charge from Concord, Mass.
That occurred after prosecutors issued an arrest warrant on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Camden Hughes, 6, in Hampton, N.H., on Saturday.
Prosecutors said preliminary autopsy results show the cause of Camden’s death is asphyxiation.
Massachusetts state police took McCrery into custody at a highway rest stop, where she was found inside her pickup truck Wednesday.
McCrery is expected to be arraigned Thursday in Concord District Court. The voicemail was full for a phone listing for McCrery.
The 6-year-old’s body was found off a secluded road in South Berwick on Saturday.
Sources told CBS station WBZ that his mother, Juli McCrery, confessed to giving her son an overdose of cough syrup that resulted in his death.
Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio would not give many details during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. He said Massachusetts state police received a call and went to the southbound rest area on Interstate 495 about 10:20 a.m. The woman was taken by ambulance to a hospital for medical evaluation.
He said the case will be handled by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.
New Hampshire State Police spent Wednesday at the Stone Gable Inn, but it’s not clear what they were looking for, WMUR 9 TV in New Hampshire reported.
The parking lot to the inn was taped off while agents conducted their search. The attorney general’s office did not confirm whether the search was in relation to Camden’s death, according to the Manchester TV station.
Local motel owners in the area said detectives were asking them about the case earlier in the day.
“It was really upsetting to find out there was a little boy — that he could have died here. You never know,” Hampton resident Larry Regan told WMUR.
Regan said he has lived at the motel for the past two months and that most of the people staying there have been long-term residents.
He said that’s why he took notice when he saw McCrery check in. Regan said she only stayed for one night.
“She was irate. She was angry and very disheveled. Her hair was all messed up and things like that,” Regan told the TV station.
He said he never saw Camden but heard McCrery yelling at him as he passed by her room last week.
“(She was) just yelling. Typical screaming of a parent that was irate,” Regan told WMUR.
A Julianne McCrery of Texas is listed as a self-published author, issuing “Good Night, Sleep Tight: How to Fall Asleep and Go Back to Sleep When You Wake Up.” McCrery’s author page on Amazon.com, written in 2009, states: “Julianne McCrery was born in San Jose, Ca. in 1969.
She has made her home Dallas, Texas, since the early ’80s. She enjoys two sons, one who serves in the U.S. Navy and the other one much younger aged three and a half years. Driving a school bus and then somehow graduating to a cement mixer certainly gave her character beyond her years, and a definite need for a good night’s sleep!”
A 2009 YouTube video features a 30-second review of her book. The speaker is not shown. Five other videos on the same channel show family videos of a young boy bearing a striking resemblance to the computer image of the dead boy released by Maine State Police.
One video shows a boy on a tricycle, stating, “Camden trying out his new chopper!”
The boy was found dead on Saturday in South Berwick, near the New Hampshire border. No one had come forward to identify him.
The case broke on Wednesday morning. State Police confiscated a truck in the rest area on Interstate 495 southbound on Wednesday morning that fits the description of a vehicle sought in connection with the death.
The truck found was a blue four-door Toyota pickup truck with Texas license plates, with a license frame bearing the words “Navy Mom,” and “U.S. Navy.” A witness had told Maine police about a blue pickup truck believed driven by a woman was seen near where the child’s body, and may have had a Navy insignia. Based on the insignia, investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service were visiting military installations in the Northeast.
Christian von Atzigen, of Irving, Texas, said he told police he recognized the son of Julianne McCrery, a woman he and his wife have been close friends with for 15 years.
“We didn’t want to believe it,” von Atzigen said.
“Julie’s a good person. If you would ever ask me if she would harm a hair on that precious little boy’s head, I would say never,” he told The Associated Press. “She loves that boy.”
Von Atzigen said Camden was a happy little boy, and he never heard McCrery even raise her voice to him.
“I never even saw her discipline him,” he said. “He was just a great little boy, just fun, a good kid, smart as a whip,” he said.
Von Atzigen said he last saw McCrery on Easter, when she came to his house to get a part to fix her hot water heater. While she was there, she dropped off some of her son Camden’s toys for his 2-year-old son, he said.
He said he doesn’t know why McCrery was in Maine.
“My wife talked to her a couple of days ago and everything seemed OK,” he said. “There was no mention of her going anywhere,” he said.
Investigators have fielded more than 200 tips since the boy’s body was found. Police also conducted DNA tests on the body, released a detailed photo of the boy’s sneakers and notified Interpol.