CBS 3 Exclusive: Family Seeks Justice For Cory
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By Chris May
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “I got a text message, and all it said was ‘Emergency.’”
It was the day everything changed for Molly Morton.
“All I heard was a lady in the background saying to him, ‘She needs to come to Cooper Hospital. She needs to come to Cooper Hospital,’” said Molly. Something had happened at the home of the couple babysitting her son Cory, and he was not breathing.
Molly Morton raced to the hospital praying for good news. Cory’s doctor had none.
“Cory was not awake,” Morton recalled. “He told me it was swelling of the brain. He said more than likely, you know, it came from some sort of bang to his head.”
For three agonizing days Cory held on, and his family held onto him, even as they knew he was slipping away.
“He was having brain seizure after brain seizure after brain seizure,” Morton said. “I knew that was it.”
“And again how old was he at this point?” asked CBS 3′s Chris May.
“Two weeks past his first birthday,” Morton said.
Cory Sechtin died on September 8, 2010, at Cooper Hospital. One of the babysitters, a man named Lawrence Atwell who was home alone with Cory at the time, told officials the child was hurt when he climbed up on a slide and fell off head first. It’s a story Cory’s family never believed.
Morton said, “My son couldn’t walk. So to me, that’s not true. He had never taken an unassisted step in his entire life.”
The Atlantic County medical examiner found Cory suffered a brain hemorrhage and detached retinas, often signs of shaken baby syndrome.
Cory’s death was found to be a homicide. And yet one year and eight months later, nothing has been done.
“Has anyone been arrested?” asked Chris May.
“No,” Morton said.
“Has anyone been charged?”
“Why?” asked Chris May.
“Um. I don’t know,” Morton responded.
The Cory Sechtin case has been under review by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office headed by Theodore Housel.
“I’ve written several letters to him asking him to be Cory’s advocate for us. And he has completely dismissed me,” said Cory’s grandmother Suzanne Bobbitt. She says Housel’s office offers her family little information, and worse, no action. She says their reluctance to pursue charges in the case amounts to misconduct.
“Unfortunately, Cory died in Atlantic County,” said Bobbitt. “Had it been in another county in New Jersey, this may all have been over long, long ago.”
“What do you want from the Atlantic County prosecutor?” Chris May asked Molly Morton.
“I just want a final answer. Are you gonna arrest somebody, or are you not gonna arrest somebody?” she said. “That’s for Cory. That’s justice for him.”
3 On Your Side contacted the prosecutor’s office. A spokeswoman says they can’t comment on open investigations.
In the wrongful death civil suit filed against the Atwells by Molly Morton, the Atwells denied all of the allegations.
An attorney for the Atwells says he has advised them not to speak. He called Cory’s death a “tragic accident” and says his clients are “innocent of any wrongdoing.”
Since 3 On Your Side started asking questions, a representative of the prosecutor’s office called Morton and is promising to meet with her.