Local News

Airman pleads guilty to killing toddler son

Posted January 28, 2014

Matthew Theurer

— An airman stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing his 15-month-old son last year and dumping the toddler's body off a Columbus County highway.

Senior Airman Matthew Theurer, 22, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, child endangerment, obstruction of justice and making a false statement. Lt. Col. Josh Kastenberg, the military judge handling the case, was hearing more evidence before sentencing Theurer.

Columbus County deputies found the body of young Matthew Theurer on March 12 in a wooded area along N.C. Highway 905 between Whiteville and Tabor City. The child's body was wrapped in plastic bags.

Theurer told Kastenberg that his life began to spiral downward after he separated from his wife and she moved back to Indiana. He couldn't afford a babysitter long term, so he started leaving his son alone at home in Goldsboro with little to eat while he was at work.

On Feb. 15, he came home to find the boy unresponsive. After his attempts to revive the child failed, he said, he decided to cover up the death.

Theurer said he lied to investigators for weeks, but his guilt eventually caught up with him. He confessed to Air Force authorities after a suicide attempt failed – and after the boy's body had already been found.


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  • bdu4dals2 Jan 30, 2014

    Can't say what I really mean but there are so many avenues a single parent has in the military for assistance. This was a senseless death that never should have happened. The military is especially attuned to problems like this.

  • IcebergSlim Jan 30, 2014

    Heartbreaking story. I was stationed at Seymour Johnson years ago and I can't believe for one second that the base could not have offered some sort of assistance. The baby's father definitely did not use any of the resources available to him.

  • sinew1 Jan 30, 2014

    Pathetic excuse for a human being. No punishment he receives will equal the pain and suffering he inflicted on this innocent child.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 29, 2014

    That poor baby, and his mother didn't want him either? What about grandparents?? Or what about dropping him off at a safe place (police department, fire department, hospital) and putting him up for adoption. Instead the adults in this child's life let him suffer like that, and then to die?
    Prayers for his wee soul, and that justice is served, not only to his father, but also to any other familial adult who could have saved him.