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.
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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.
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.
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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