manuela morgadoA 4-year-old boy has become the victim of a custody battle between two divorced parents. Mom Manuela Morgado allegedly asphixiated her son, Jason Riesh, before attempting suicide herself. She was found at her home in a catatonic state, cradling her lifeless son's body. The father, Dr. Timothy Reish, is a prominent orthopaedic surgeon who treats athletes. Reish had been fighting to win custody of Jason, but now he has lost his son forever.

Apparently no one saw this coming. Morgado was under stress, though. She had filed for bankruptcy and owed various banks about $12,000. She was also behind in her mortgage payments. But other than that, she had been "upbeat," according to one neighbor. Another said, "Her son was her world and she loved him so much ... She was the mother of all mothers and she would do anything for him."

A family member found Morgado when she arrived at 10:00 a.m. to help her move. As far as anyone is saying, there was nothing to indicate that Morgado would do anything this drastic.

It is believed that Reish was seeking custody on account of Morgado's financial troubles. But I can't believe that's the whole story. And I wonder if that's all that was behind the death of her son and her attempted suicide (she left notes behind). I know custody battles can be bitter. This one must have been positively toxic. Poor Jason -- stuck in the middle! If it was bad enough to lead to murder and suicide, it must have been incredibly acrimonious, and no doubt hard on Jason, too. When parents are this out of control, it's the kids who suffer the most.

Morgada has been charged with second-degree murder -- and she's had a psychiatric evaluation at Sound Shore Medical Center. But whatever led to this horrifying incident, I feel for Jason's family.

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Why do you think Morgado killed her son?

 

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