Crews back in Ohio River, using sonar searching for body of missing Middletown boy

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Views of the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Ind. on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Law enforcement search and rescue teams are back on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Ind. this afternoon searching for the body of James Hutchinson.

The 6-year-old Middletown boy was allegedly run over and killed by his mother, Brittany Gosney, on Feb. 26 at Rush Run Wildlife Area in Preble County as he clung to her minivan when she attempted to abandon him along with his brother and sister.

ExploreTimeline: How the murder case of Middletown 6-year-old James Hutchinson unfolded
James Robert Hutchinson
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James Robert Hutchinson

Gosney confessed to the death of her son and said she and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, took the boy’s body on Feb. 28 to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and threw him in the river.

The river’s high level and swift current has limited the search for the boy’s body. On Wednesday afternoon, members of the Hamilton County Police Association Search and Recovery Unit were on the water operating sonar, Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson said.

Gosney, 29, and Hamilton, 42, were indicted Friday by a Butler County grand jury on 31 combined charges alleging crimes against all three children, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children for Gosney; and kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and endangering children for Hamilton.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges during arraignment Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Bond was set at $2 million for Gosney and $750,000 for Hamilton. They are housed in the Butler County Jail.

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Middletown Police Chief David Birk said that “Preble County has kind of taken the lead on the search.”

Simpson said Tuesday his office is watching the water level and rain predications.

“We have someone watching and monitoring the river all the time,” Simpson said.

Simpson said Hamilton County dive units are monitoring weather and height and flow of the river, “and as soon as they believe they’ve got a window that looks good, then they are in. We are waiting on them to make that call, they are the experts. Our original thinking was sometime in the next couple weeks, it depends on the weather.”

Bond was set at $2 million for Brittany Gosney Monday, March 8, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. Gosney is charged with multiple counts in connection to the death of her 6-year-old son James Hutchinson. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Bond was set at $2 million for Brittany Gosney Monday, March 8, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. Gosney is charged with multiple counts in connection to the death of her 6-year-old son James Hutchinson. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Bond was set at $750,000 for James Hamilton Monday, March 8, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. Hamilton is charged with multiple counts in connection to the disposal of the body of his girlfriend's 6-year-old son James Hutchinson.  NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Bond was set at $750,000 for James Hamilton Monday, March 8, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. Hamilton is charged with multiple counts in connection to the disposal of the body of his girlfriend's 6-year-old son James Hutchinson. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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