The per curiam Court continued in relevant part: The following facts are drawn from Justice Patterson’s concurring opinion. Timothy Wiltsey (Timmy) resided with defendant, his mother, in South Amboy. A teenage neighbor, Dawn Matthews, initially babysat for Timmy. Later, following defendant’s move to a different neighborhood, her niece Jennifer Blair, later Jennifer Blair-Dilcher, became Timmy’s primary babysitter. When she babysat for Timmy, Blair-Dilcher was sometimes accompanied by her friend Danielle Gerding.
Shortly after Timmy’s fifth birthday, defendant enrolled him in kindergarten at St. Mary’s School. School records reflect that Timmy arrived late sixty-three times during his kindergarten year and was absent on twenty-five school days. The record contains no indication that defendant was ever accused of abusing Timmy prior to the murder charge against her. Several witnesses testified at trial that they viewed her to be a loving and dedicated mother to her son, and that she considered the child her first priority.
On the evening of Saturday, May 25, 1991, Blair-Dilcher and Gerding went to the carnival in Sayreville and looked for defendant and Timmy. They found defendant standing alone. Defendant said that she did not know where Timmy was and that he had been missing for fifteen minutes. Blair-Dilcher and Gerding immediately began searching for Timmy. Between 7:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Gerding notified an auxiliary police officer, Kevin Skolnik, that her friend’s son was missing. Skolnik approached defendant and inquired about the missing child. Defendant, who did not appear to the officer to be upset, said that “she went to get her soda, she turned her back and her son was missing.” Defendant told Skolnik that Timmy “had Ninja Turtle sneakers, he had a crew cut, and a t-shirt on.” Sayreville police officers and firefighters conducted an extensive search of the carnival site and the surrounding area, but failed to locate Timmy. They searched defendant’s car and found no evidence relating to Timmy’s disappearance.
This statement of facts is taken from trial testimony. It is easy to imagine the trial prosecutor wanting to elicit that “defendant did not appear to be upset to the officer” as a means to undermine her credibility with regard to her child being missing.