The couple was “frustrated” with their infant’s crying one night in February, so they decided to put him in “time out,” New Jersey authorities said Tuesday.
William Herring and Brianna Brochhausen left the 4-month-old child lying on his stomach on the bed, completely covered by a comforter, to go smoke cigarettes outside the Hilltop Motel in Springfield Township, where they were living, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and New Jersey State Police Col. Patrick Callahan.
When Herring, 42, and Brochhausen, 22, returned about 10 minutes later, their son, Hunter, wasn’t breathing, prosecutors said. Emergency responders got to the motel and took the boy to a Mount Holly hospital. He was then transferred to an intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Hunter died about two weeks later, after his life support was removed, police said. Officials say he died from “complications of suffocation” and ruled his death a homicide.
“The thoughtless actions of these individuals ended up costing a defenseless 4-month-old infant his life,” Callahan said.
The couple was arrested Monday on upgraded charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, prosecutors said. They had initially faced child endangerment charges shortly after Hunter’s death.
Coffina urged new parents who may be struggling to care for their newborn to seek help instead of “taking actions that might harm their child.”