A mother is alleged to have suffocated her 17-month-old toddler by holding a cleaning wipe over his nose and mouth because he was getting in the way of her affair, a court has heard.
Heather Reynolds, 41, who also struggles with addiction to crystal meth, sobbed as her attorney denied charges of murdering and endangering her son Axel on May 10 last year.
She was remanded in custody at Camden county superior court, New Jersey, pending trial where she could be sentenced to life in prison.
The mother studied Health Science at the University of Florida before taking developmental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
She has two other young sons and previously worked as a therapist at a children’s counseling service.
Mother Heather Reynolds, 41, has been accused of suffocating her 17-month-old son Axel by covering his mouth and nose with a cleaning wipe because he was getting in the way of her affair. (Pictured) Mrs Reynolds with her son during celebrations for his first birthday
Mrs Reynolds denies charges of murder and endangering her son Axel. The mother, who has struggled with addiction to crystal meth, sobbed in court. (Pictured with her husband Joseph, who died in November, and son Axel)
‘This is an absolutely brutal murder and a helpless victim,’ assistant prosecutor Peter Gallagher said reports
He also asserted it would required ‘commitment’ to carry out the killing because of the time it would take.
Her attorney Michael Testa said: ‘She adamantly denies that she has anything to do with the death of her child’.
On May 10 last year police were called to Mrs Reynolds home in Gloucester Township where she was screaming for help while holding the lifeless body of her son.
He had bruises around his mouth and nose and smelled of alcohol, the prosecutor said.
Officers found the boy on the lawn of the family home.
Mrs Reynold’s attorney Michael Testa said: ‘She adamantly denies that she has anything to do with the death of her child’
Police were called to her house on May 10 last year after she was found outside screaming for help holding the lifeless body of her son. He was found to have bruises around his nose and mouth
Medical Examiner Gerald Feigin ruled the death a homicide by asphyxia on June 7 after traces of a substance used in detergents and antiseptics was found in the boy’s body.
Mrs Reynolds was indicted by a grand jury on June 13 after hearing evidence.
Her husband, Joseph, who died in November this year, was away for work when Axel died.
Her social media profile shows many pictures of the mother with Axel, her two young sons and husband.
Tributes to Axel said he was the ‘sweetest little boy’ who had a smile ‘that made the room glow and everyone around you feel the innocence and peace that you radiated’.
A person identifying as an Aunt said: ‘My sweet little Axel. You were such a happy, healthy little guy.
‘Every day has been so hard since you were taken from us. Life will not be the same without you my sweet nephew.’
Another person said the little boy will be ‘forever in our heart and soul’.
‘I wish I could have saved you,’ they added.