Court records show that on Wednesday, a Pennsylvania mother was charged with murder after she told police she killed her 11-year-old son because she didn’t want him to grow up with the family’s money problems.
NBC Philadelphia got a criminal charge that says Ruth DiRienzo-Whitehead, 50, said she killed Matthew Whitehead while he slept with her husband’s belt.
Online court records show that DiRienzo-Whitehead was also charged with third-degree murder and with having a weapon used in a crime.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that she is being held in Cape May, New Jersey, and will be sent to Pennsylvania to be charged.
The tweet below confirms the news:
A Pennsylvania mother has been charged with murder after telling authorities she strangled her 11-year-old son because she didn’t want him to grow up with the family’s financial difficulties, court records show. https://t.co/l2Z0nlLHus
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 13, 2023
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Matthew’s Body Was Found in the Bedroom
The prosecutor’s office said that Matthew’s father called 911 on Monday morning when he found his SUV gone and the door to the master bedroom locked at the family’s home in Horsham, about 24 miles north of Philadelphia.
The statement said that Matthew’s body was found in the bedroom, where he and his mother had gone to sleep. He had marks around his neck from being tied down and other signs that he had been strangled, the statement said.
Authorities found out that DiRienzo-Whitehead was suspected of killing her son after he went to bed the night before and then drove the family’s SUV about 125 miles south to Cape May, New Jersey.
The complaint says that DiRienzo-Whitehead drove the car onto a famous beach and into the water.
A picture from NBC Philadelphia shows that part of the car is in the water.
Ruth DiRienzo-Whitehead, 50, of Horsham, Pa., allegedly told detectives she fatally strangled her 11 yo son, Matthew, with a belt as he slept because she didn’t want him to grow up having to struggle with the family’s financial difficulties, according to #MontcoPa Court document pic.twitter.com/X2DVIQXcYk
— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) April 12, 2023
The prosecutor’s office said that DiRienzo-Whitehead got out of the car and walked to the nearby town of Wildwood Crest. An affidavit for probable cause received by NBC Philadelphia said that a police officer saw her walking down the street in “tattered” pajamas and looking messy and confused.
She told the officer, “I know what I did,” the statement says.
According to the report, she told the police that her son had been upset and crying the day before because the family was having money problems.
Horsham mother charged with strangling her 11yr old son to death after he went to sleep Monday night. Ruth DiRienzo Whitehead, a local real estate agent, is charged with first degree murder. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/cVmC4RRKgz
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) April 12, 2023
The lawsuit says, “DiRienzo-Whitehead said she didn’t want Matthew to grow up with these problems, so she strangled him with her husband’s belt.”
It’s not clear if DiRienzo-Whitehead has an attorney who can talk for her. There wasn’t one in the court records.
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