A New Jersey woman has been handed the life sentence for murdering her 17-month-old son whom she saw as an “obstacle” to her extramarital affair.
Heather Reynolds, 45, who suffocated her son, Axel Reynolds to death with a cleansing wipe in 2018, was ordered to spend the rest of her life behind bars without the possibility of parole by Camden County Superior Court Judge Gwendolyn Blue.
Reynolds was convicted in July on one count each of murder, possession of methamphetamine and putting a child in harm’s way after a nine-day trial. She killed her son while under the influence of methamphetamine because he stood in the way of her extramarital affair, according to prosecutors.
“A review of the text messages between the defendant and her boyfriend from the previous night before the murder show that the defendant was becoming frustrated by the boyfriend’s apparent lack of interest,” CCPO Homicide Section Chief Peter Gallagher said.
Gallagher also said that “witnesses also told detectives that the defendant had expressed the sentiment that her toddler son, Alex, was an obstacle to her relationship with her boyfriend.”
Reynolds’ relationship with the aforementioned boyfriend had already ended when she was charged with murder in June 2019. Also, the boyfriend agreed to appear as a witness against her. According to prosecutors, Reynolds then set out to have the former boyfriend killed.
Jeffrey Callahan, Reynolds’ subsequent boyfriend, and Reynolds in 2021 were both charged with conspiring to have the former boyfriend killed in a murder-for-hire plot. In July, Callahan pleaded guilty to witness tampering for withholding evidence. He was sentenced to 456 days behind bars and two years of probation.
An autopsy showed that Axel’s death was a homicide caused by suffocation. Prosecutors suggested that Reynolds held a cleansing wipe of some kind over the child’s nose and mouth, which would account for the bruising on his face as well as the isopropyl alcohol and acetone found in the toddler’s system.
Joseph Reynolds, her husband, passed away six months later after the death of their son, Alex.
According to a press release from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, “Before sentencing Reynolds, Judge Blue listened to members of the victim’s family express how the defendant’s crime had affected their lives before imposing sentence.”
Reynolds was also sentenced to serve a concurrent eight-year prison term for the child endangerment charge as well as a concurrent four-year sentence for the meth possession charge in addition to the life sentence for murder.