‘He’s not the monster’: Mom defends son charged with killing his siblings

Mother says threats from boyfriend caused son to kill siblings
Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 at 8:25 AM EDT
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DEARBORN COUNTY, IN (FOX19) - A 14-year-old is accused of killing his two younger siblings.

The Ripley County Prosecutor says the teen smothered his half sister and step brother to death less than three months apart.

Now, the mother of the children is speaking out saying that her son didn't act alone.

Christina McCartney is defending her teenage son who is accused of murdering his two younger siblings.

"He's not the monster that people are trying to portray him as. It's a mother's worst nightmare to have such a precious family and then to wake up to the worst possible outcomes," said McCartney.

She says her 14-year-old son adored his half sister and step brother.

"Every mom's dream child. He would sing to them read them books. I didn't have to ask him to help with the kids he would just do it," said McCartney.

She says things drastically changed last year on May 1 when she arrived at her Osgood, Indiana home and found her lifeless 23-month-old daughter Desiree.

"My son came out of the bathroom and was holding Desiree and said mom something's wrong. She's not breathing right," said McCartney.

Desiree died five days later at Children's Hospital.

McCartney says she believed her daughter stopped breathing due to an unknown medical issue.

A few months later her 11-month-old step son Nathaniel Ritz also died after being suffocated.

Ripley County prosecutors say after Ritz's death the teen confessed.

"There were several remarks that were made to police about freeing the siblings from some sort of hell," said Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel.

McCartney says her teenage son was referring to his abusive stepdad who was living in the home with them.

"He witnessed him being mean to the babies. That he pushed them down on purpose. He would lock them up in the bedroom to try to shut them up. He painted a pretty bad picture. As a mom that's hard to swallow that was going on and I didn't know." McCartney said.

She says she doesn't believe her son acted alone.

McCartney says her boyfriend didn't like the responsibilities of fatherhood and she believes her son was forced to kill his siblings.

"He did it under threat. He was told that if didn't do that he was being told he would be killed and that Stephen would kill me," said McCartney.

She says true justice would be seeing her ex-boyfriend behind bars as well.

"This man destroyed many people's lives. My son will never be the same and my kids are gone. Those were my babies. They were my life, but he still walk free. That's not right," said McCartney.

The 14-year-old is currently being held at the Dearborn Juvenile Detention Center. His mother says he has been held here for the past few weeks after being arrested. Before that, she says he was getting treatment at a mental hospital.

The prosecutor says the teen is now being evaluated to see if he's competent to stand trial and if he can be tried as an adult.

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