Bench remembering Middletown boy killed by his mother dedicated at elementary school

A dedication was held Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown for a black granite bench in memory of James Hutchinson who was killed by his mother. Hutchinson was a student at Rosa Parks Elementary. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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A dedication was held Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown for a black granite bench in memory of James Hutchinson who was killed by his mother. Hutchinson was a student at Rosa Parks Elementary. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A bench memorializing James Hutchinson, who was killed by his mother in February, has been placed at Rosa Parks Elementary in Middletown where the 6-year-old was a student.

A dedication ceremony was held on Thursday to introduce the bench that was produced with community fundraising and other donations.

James’ smiling face is pictured on the back of the bench with the words, “The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.” It sits outside the school’s recently completed new addition in the outdoor learning space.

A peaceful silhouette of a boy at play is on the other side of the bench with the sentiment, “In memory of James Hutchinson. A little boy who loved his school, his teachers & his friends.”

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The bench was made possible by Dodds Memorials in Middletown and community donations.

Monroe resident Zach Stacy started the effort to find a way to memorize James after his death in February. He met with Lisa George at Dodds, and they worked together for the funds to make it a reality.

Donations were dropped off to George from community members to pay for a large portion of the bench.

“There was such an outpouring of support,” Stacy said, noting lots of people donated what they could to make sure the little boy was not forgotten.

“The outpouring of love and support for our school community is overwhelming and a true reflection of the Middletown community,” said Elizabeth Beadle, Middletown schools spokeswoman. A dedication of the bench is planned for Sept. 9 at 4:15 p.m.

A bench in memory of James Hutchinson has been placed outside at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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A bench in memory of James Hutchinson has been placed outside at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Donations can still be made in a fund established shortly after the boy’s murder.

The Middletown City School District, Middletown Police Department, the City of Middletown and local faith-based support groups opened the “James You Are Loved” Memorial Fund at First Financial Bank in March.

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The purpose of the fund is to provide monetary support for James Hutchinson’s two siblings, Rachel and Lucas. All donations received will go to the siblings. The proceeds will not be used for funeral expenses, as the arrangements have been donated if and when the boy’s body is found, officials said.

James was killed by mother, Brittany Gosney, on Feb. 26 before she and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, disposed of his body in the Ohio River, two days later. He was a first-grader at Rosa Parks.

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Gosney told police she planned to abandon all three children at Rush Run during the early-morning hours when she ran over James when he tried to get back in her vehicle. The siblings were with her at the time and have since been removed from the home.

The Death of James Hutchinson
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The Death of James Hutchinson

Gosney has pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of felony child endangering and Hamilton has pleaded guilty to kidnapping, two counts of child endangering and gross abuse of a corpse. Sentencing for Gosney is set for Sept. 13 and for Hamilton on Oct. 4 in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Searching continues when weather permits, but Hutchinson’s body has not been found.

Brittany Gosney and James Hamilton. MIDDLETOWN JAIL
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Brittany Gosney and James Hamilton. MIDDLETOWN JAIL

How to donate:

- Visit or send an e-check to any First Financial Bank Branch using the name “James You Are Loved Memorial Fund.”

- Mail a physical check to Middletown City School District, One Donham Plaza, 4th Floor, Middletown, OH 45042 to the attention of “James You Are Loved Memorial Fund.”

- Online at https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=UHS9F3LY8UT4Y

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