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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE Oceanic Bridge Maintenance Work to Begin Monday, Feb. 2
Friday, 30 January 2015
Photo: Oceanic Bridge. credit: goboatingnj.org   MIDDLETOWN, NJ – The Oceanic Bridge (S-31) over the NavesinkRiver will undergo repair work to the structural steel and concrete deck beginning on or about 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2. To complete the... Read More...
IMAGE Brookdale Board Approves 3.4 Percent Tuition Increase
Friday, 30 January 2015
LINCROFT, NJ – The Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees voted on Jan. 29 to approve a 3.4 percent tuition increase at the college for the 2015-16 school year. For a full-time student taking 30 credits per year, the change would mean an... Read More...
IMAGE Attempted Abduction of 11-Year-Old Girl in Highlands
Friday, 30 January 2015
IMAGE: Google Street View. HIGHLANDS, NJ - A Highlands mother reports that her daughter was approached by an older man in a black SUV in the vicinity of Welsh Farms on Bay Avenue in the borough this afternoon around 3:15 p.m. The girl was asked to... Read More...
AAA Reminds Motorists: Be the Ref of the Party - Designate a Driver
Friday, 30 January 2015
Hamilton, NJ – This Sunday, Super Bowl XLIX will kick off in Arizona, but closer to home, people will gather to watch the game with family and friends. AAA urges fans to prepare for the big game by designating a sober driver or arranging for... Read More...
IMAGE MC Park System Offers 2015 Trails Team Training
Friday, 30 January 2015
PHOTO: The Monmouth County Park System’s Volunteer Trails Team in action.  LINCROFT, NJ — Love the Monmouth County Park System’s 130+ miles of trails and interested in becoming part of the Park System’s Trails Team? Head to the... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Observations on a MLK Celebration
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 30 January 2015
On Monday, January 19, 2015 I went to a service honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. I went for multiple reasons. I went to honor a great American and... Read More...
IMAGE Worst Storm Ever? (What’s up widat?)
by Woody Zimmerman
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Somehow – no doubt largely due to the vigilance and timely warnings supplied by our political and media guardians – we have managed to survive... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Into The Woods
by David Prown
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
I saw the Broadway version of "Into the Woods" in the 80's with Bernadette Peters just a few days after I saw "Les Miserables" with the original... Read More...
IMAGE Protest This Super Bowl Commercial
by Anne Mikolay
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Sunday, February 1, the New England Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in NFL Super Bowl XLIX. Football fans will tune in to see the... Read More...
IMAGE What’s that Flock in the Bay?
by Joe Reynolds
Sunday, 25 January 2015
This was a week of counting wintering water-birds. The other day I looked out onto New York Harbor and saw a large raft of diving ducks. I counted at... Read More...

FREEHOLD, NJ - Michelle A. Heale, 44, of Toms River, was charged today with the murder of a 14-month old child, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced. Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Thomas F. Scully, P.J. Cr. set Heale's bail at $250,000 with no 10% option.

The charge against Heale stems from an incident that occurred on August 28. On that date, Heale was babysitting 14-month old Mason Hess at Heale's house in Toms River. Heale was a regular babysitter for the Hess family and had watched Mason a few times a week for several months predating the incident. At approximately 2:03 p.m., the Toms River Police Department responded to the Heale home after Heale reported that the child was having difficulty breathing. The Toms River Police Department and the Toms River Township EMS responded and found the child unconscious and not breathing. Mason was immediately transported to a local emergency room in Toms River.

Shortly after Mason's arrival, doctors determined that the child's health was rapidly deteriorating and he was immediately transported by helicopter to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia ("CHOP"). Subsequent examination by CHOP physicians revealed that Mason sustained physical abuse and that his condition was grave. On August 31, CHOP physicians concluded that Mason was the victim of violent shaking that caused severe brain, spine and retinal damage. Mason Hess succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on September 1 at approximately 2:30 p.m. A subsequent autopsy performed by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office rendered Mason's cause of death to be blunt cerebral trauma and the manner of death to be homicide.

An investigation into Mason's death was commenced by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office on August 29. This Office is handling the case because both the father of the victim and the husband of the defendant are employed by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

As a result, the Ocean County Prosecutor referred the investigation to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General in accordance with standard procedure. The Attorney General's Office assumed jurisdiction over the case and then assigned it to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office for further investigation.

Murder is a crime of the first degree and carries a maximum sentence of lifetime in prison, and a minimum of 30 years in jail with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility . This charge is also subject to the "No Early Release Act" (N.E.R.A.), which means that, if convicted, Heale would not be paroled until she served 85% of the sentence imposed, if given more than the minimum 30-year sentence.

Despite this charge, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial in which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

The case is being prosecuted by Director of Investigations Marc C. LeMieux. Heale is represented by Karl Mohel, Esq., of Toms River.