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Toms River Woman Charged in Shaking Death of 14-Month-Old

Michelle A. Heale allegedly killed child through "violent shaking"

A Toms River babysitter is being held on $250,000 bail with no 10 percent option after being charged with the murder of a 14-month-old child, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday.

Authorities said that Michelle A. Heale, 44, was babysitting the child, Mason Hess, at her Toms River home on Aug. 28 when she allegedly violently shook him, causing injuries that led to his death days later, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement. 

At the time, Heale called police to report that the child was having difficulty breathing and Toms River police and emergency responders arrived to find the child "unconscious and not breathing," Gramiccioni said.

Hess was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where doctors determined that he had sustained physical abuse and was in "grave" condition. It was determined by CHOP doctors on Aug. 31 that the child "was the victim of violent shaking that caused severe brain, spine and retinal damage," Gramiccioni said.

The child died from those injuries on Sept. 1 and an autopsy performed by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death to be a homicide caused by blunt cerebral trauma, according to Gramiccioni.

The investigation was handled by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office because the father of the victim and the defendant's husband are employed by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Gramiccioni said.

"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," Gramiccioni said. "This charge is also subject to the 'No Early Release Act,' which means that, if convicted, Heale would not be paroled until she served 85 percent of the sentence imposed, if given more than the minimum 30-year sentence."

Director of Investigations Marc C. LeMieux is prosecuting the case and Heale is represented by Toms River attorney Karl Mohel.

lucky one November 27, 2012 at 08:30 PM
What an absolute monster I hope she gets the Max!!!!!
Shelly November 27, 2012 at 09:01 PM
The max is too good for her. She should be shaken until her heart stops beating!
Marres November 27, 2012 at 09:12 PM
This is absolutely heart breaking. I hope she gets the max sentence and is tortured daily by Big Burtha and her crew.
lucky one November 27, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I almost could not read the whole story my heart goes out to the mother and father. I only wish i could get 1 minute with this horrible human being
Ajv November 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Awful how can hurt a child. Baby's father should get a hour alone with her. She deserves a very slow and very painful death
Sandra November 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Probably she will have a public defender and plea that she had emotional problems.
Rick Molinia November 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM
evil c word
sha November 28, 2012 at 01:46 AM
What a nightmare for the parents. This is an adult woman they trusted to take good care of their baby.
Michael Hendrickson November 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM
How come the bail for the teacher that had sex with a student is $300,000 and this babysitter who shook a baby to death is $250,000
. November 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Very sad for this poor baby, but parents have to be very careful who they let babysit their children.
WhyohWhy November 28, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Sandra, did ya not read the article? She has her own attorney. She was well trusted and babysat many times and the baby's father and her husband worked together and knew each other from the Prosecuters office. The babys family has been thru so much... please have kind words to say here. When reading this article in the APP they said no picture of the babysitter would be printed but it was ok to post the picture of the poor little boy??? Why? UGH....
Abby8 November 28, 2012 at 07:11 PM
To all parties involved a total tragedy. A little boy is gone. Clearly there is more to this story.
bill November 28, 2012 at 09:18 PM
difference is the 10% and no 10% if you read carefully.
Ajv November 29, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Make her suffer that piece of shit that she is. As a parent I can't comprehend harming a defenseless child. It's sickening
chris Christie November 29, 2012 at 04:43 AM
How come she is allowed to be around her own childen? Someone who has killed another child, should not be allowed to be near children at all.
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Liberty December 02, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Editor: Why do these creepy little comments with the coachoutlet.com address embedded in them keep showing up all over the Patch?
CAMERON December 03, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Monster. Hell is waiting for you when you die. Hope you go to prison for life.
MARIA CONDE December 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM
My heart goes out to the parents of this "Little Angel". May he rest in peace. I hope that justice will be made win this terrible case, because she''ll be off the hook like other criminal who kill and are right back in the street again. This is why the justice syste should kill if you kill, cut the hands off if you still, people will know better and hopefully think twice before they do aything like this. If they go to jail and are fed daily have a roof over there heads, they are making things so easy for this people and make it seem like killing, and stilling is a game. Punishment should be punishment not a joy for this people.
Irina December 03, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Maybe the patch editor should remove this spammers post. Hello, Good Morning, wake up!!!!!
Irina December 03, 2012 at 04:52 PM
My sympathies to the family. As for the murderer, there is a special place in hell for her.
Brian December 03, 2012 at 06:31 PM
There are many studies that show that supposed cases of infant shaking are often misdiagnosed. Sometimes seizures or other medical conditions are to blame. Please reserve some judgement pending further evidence. There is also no evidence offered in this article that the abuse was caused by the babysitter as opposed to others who might have been in touch with the child.
Bryan December 08, 2012 at 07:14 PM
All these people really need to go back to school and learn our Constitution! Before rushing to judgement, why not wait for all of the facts to come out. As someone said above, a lot of studies have recently proven that shaken baby syndrome is often misdiagnosed. This is what a Trial is for; so 12 people can hear all of the facts and than cone to judgement. This is a tragedy, and unfairly rushing to judgement will just add to the tragedy.
Debbie Dowd December 12, 2012 at 08:09 PM
There is no way in hell this person could of did this. Get all your facts straight.

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