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Mother strangled her son to death with father’s belt because she did not want him to grow up with money problems: Authorities

Ruth DiRienzo Whitehead. (Mugshot: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office)

Ruth DiRienzo Whitehead. (Mugshot: Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office)

A Pennsylvania woman strangled her 11-year-old son to death with his father’s belt in his sleep because she did not want him to experience financial problems growing up, authorities said, according to The Daily Voice. Prosecutors charged Ruth DiRienzo Whitehead, 50, the day after they said cops found her all the way over in New Jersey, where her car was found partially submerged in the ocean.

Prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, said that the child’s father told police he woke up Tuesday morning to find the master bedroom mysteriously blocked and his son Matthew Whitehead dead inside. He called 911. Officers with the Horsham Township Police Department responded at 7:06 a.m. to the home at the 500 block of Privet Road. Prosecutors said Whitehead had spent the night with his mother in the master bedroom. According to authorities, the father said his wife’s black Toyota Highlander was missing from the garage.

Horsham Township is more than a half-hour drive from Pennsylvania’s border with New Jersey, but authorities claim they discovered the mother and her vehicle at the very southern tip of the Garden State. City Manager Mike Voll of Cape May, New Jersey, told Law&Crime that a passerby found the vehicle at 3:30 a.m.

“While police were still in the family home, Cape May, N.J. police found the wife’s SUV partially submerged in the ocean just off Beach Avenue in Cape May,” the Montgomery County DA’s office said.

Officers ran the plate and discovered the vehicle was sought in connection to a homicide in Pennsylvania, Voll said. Police in the neighboring city of Wildwood Crest found the mother at a local residence, he told Law&Crime.

Authorities reportedly said they found ligature marks on the front and back of Matthew Whitehead’s neck. He showed facial swelling and petechiae on his eyes, Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele said.

Investigators claimed she drove the Highlander into the water in Cape May, then walked over to Wildwood Crest. The family had been experiencing financial problems, officials said.

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