FATHER & MOTHER ARRESTED IN BERKELEY DROWNING OF 2 YEAR OLD
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Berkeley Township Police Chief Karin DiMichele today announce that on January 20, 2016, Officers from the Berkeley Twp. Police Department arrested Robert S. Trella, 41, of Berkeley Township for two counts of 2nd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Possession of CDS and Tampering with Evidence. Today, Thursday (1/21), Berkeley PD Officers also arrested Brigitte M. McCarthy, 31, for two counts of 2nd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Possession of CDS. Both arrests are in connection with the investigation into the drowning death of their two (2) year old female child. The Honorable James M. Blaney, J.S.C. set bail for both at $200,000, no 10 percent, and entered a no contact order.
On August 17, 2015, Ptl. Alexander Houle, of the Berkeley Twp. Police Department, was dispatched to a residential area within the township for a report of a 9 year old girl running down the street stating that her 2 year old sister was missing. Ultimately, the child’s sister, a two year old female, identified as M.M, was located unresponsive in a neighboring swimming pool. M.M. was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River where she was pronounced dead.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined that McCarthy was the mother of M.M., the 9 year old female, as well as another sibling. The father of M.M. was also determined to be Robert S. Trella. McCarthy and Trella shared a residence in Berkeley Twp. along with the three children. When law enforcement officers entered the family home, marijuana and heroin were discovered within the residence. McCarthy further instructed her 9 year old daughter to retrieve a tin containing suspected heroin in the presence of the investigating law enforcement officers. Trella further attempted to destroy marijuana located within the home.
Witnesses in the area advised police that M.M. had been seen wandering around the neighborhood unsupervised on prior occasions before her death. It was further revealed that M.M.’s 9 year sister assumed many of the care taking responsibilities for M.M.
The case is being investigated by Detective William Somers, Sergeant William Cullen and Patrolman Taylor Butler of Berkeley Twp, P.D, as well as, Sergeant Brian Haggerty of Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit. The Crime Scene Investigation Unit of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigation. Charges were approved by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento, who will be prosecuting the case.
Anyone having information regarding this case are asked to contact the investigating Detectives at either the Berkeley Township Police Department (732 341-6600) or Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office (732 929-2027).
The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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