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Florida woman charged in NJ in son's 1990s slaying

STUART, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman was arrested in the death of her 5-year-old son, who was reported missing from a carnival in New Jersey in 1991, but authorities are not saying what led them to file charges. Michelle Lodzinski, 47, was arrested Wednesday in Jensen Beach, Florida. The Port St. Lucie, Florida, resident was held without bail by a Florida judge after a 10-second court appearance Thursday afternoon. She did not yet have an attorney for the video appearance from jail. It wasn't known whether she would agree to return to New Jersey, where a judge set her bail at $2 million. "Following a routine, cold case review of the evidence and facts surrounding the disappearance and murder of Timothy Wiltsey, a new investigation was conducted and the matter was presented to the grand jury," Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a statement. A grand jury in Middlesex County handed up an indictment against Lodzinski, but the one-page indictment unsealed Thursday doesn't mention the cause of death or specify what evidence led authorities to charge Lodzinski. The grand jury said she "did purposely or knowingly kill" Wiltsey or did "purposely or knowingly inflict serious bodily injury" resulting in his death. Lodzinski told authorities the boy had disappeared at a carnival in Sayreville in May 1991. She has long been considered a suspect, with investigators at the time saying that her story changed as police questioned her. The child's skeletal remains were found in April 1992 in a marshy area in nearby Edison. Alan Rockoff, the Middlesex County prosecutor when Timmy disappeared, said he wasn't surprised at Lodzinski's arrest. "We didn't have sufficient evidence at the time to pull the trigger," Rockoff told The Associated Press. "There was no direct smoking gun here." Rockoff, 81, said detectives never stopped working the case and did as much as they could to solve it. "Hopefully now, there's a possibility of closure," Rockoff said. "Justice works slowly, but works surely." Lodzinski ran into other legal troubles after her son's death. She surfaced in Michigan in January 1994 and said two men claiming to be FBI agents had abducted her at gunpoint outside her apartment building, forced her into a black SUV and drove her to Detroit, where they let her out. She pleaded guilty in 1995 to making false statements to the FBI and fraudulently using the agency's seal. She was sentenced to probation. In 1997, Lodzinski was arrested and charged with stealing a computer from her former employer. She pleaded guilty to a theft charge and was pregnant in 1998 when a federal judge sentenced her to house arrest after she admitted she committed a crime while on probation. ___ Associated Press writers Sean Carlin in Philadelphia and Shawn Marsh in Trenton contributed to this story.

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