Autopsy: Mom confessed to smothering toddler at Raleigh motel
Posted April 4, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A woman charged with murder after her 2-year-old son was found unresponsive in a Raleigh motel room last year confessed to smothering him, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.
The autopsy determined that Joshua Callahan's injuries were consistent with asphyxia due to smothering and cited a police report that said Michelle Harpster admitted to killing her son before attempting suicide.
Police found the two inside a Super 8 Motel on New Bern Avenue on Sept. 26 after a motel employee reported that Harpster, 29, was locked in the room and would not leave.
Harpster was involved in a custody dispute with Joshua's father, and she had been staying in the motel on and off for about three months.
Police have not offered a motive in the killing, but other long-term residents at the motel said Harpster was growing increasingly desperate as she struggled to provide for her son.