Rescue workers still prevented from searching Ohio River for Middletown 6-year-old: When could search resume?

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A memorial has continued to grow at the Crawford Street house of James Hutchinson in Middletown.

Law enforcement and area search teams are continuing to monitor the weather and water levels of the Ohio River to determine when the search can continue for the body of James Hutchinson.

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

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 to Lawrenceburg, Ind. on Feb. 28 and threw him in the Ohio River.

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.

On Sunday, law enforcement from the region, including the Preble County Sheriff’s Office and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, began a search for Hutchinson’s body. The high water level and fast current prevented any searches before then.

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The remains were not found. Middletown Police Chief David Birk said that “Preble County has kind of taken the lead on the search.”

He said it is possible dive teams might be back in the water later this week, but it depends on the water level.

Preble County Sheriff Michael Simpson said 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
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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

According to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office report, Gosney said she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of Hutchinson and his two siblings, ages 9 and 7. The 29-year-old mother drove the three children in a 2005 Dodge Caravan to Rush Run to abandon them.

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A memorial has continued to grow at the Crawford Street house of James Hutchinson in Middletown.