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Police seize cellphones, razor blades from Super 8 Motel room

Posted October 8, 2012

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— Raleigh police found cellphones, notebooks, broken glass and razor blades inside a motel room where, they allege, a young mother killed her 2-year-old son. The details were released Monday in search warrants connected to the investigation of the child’s death.

Police found Joshua Callahan dead inside the Super 8 Motel at 3804 New Bern Ave. Sept. 26. His mother, Michelle Danielle Harpster, 29, was charged the next day with killing him. Police say Harpster tried to kill herself.

Raleigh police seized the following items from Room 323: Verizon LG cellphone, Samsung cellphone, two cellphone power cords, two notebooks, blue and black backpack with clothing and other items, pink duffel bag with clothing and other items, broken glass, two razor blades, two cigarette butts and pieces of clothing.

As of Monday morning, Harpster remained at WakeMed. A spokesman for Raleigh police said he did not know when Harpster would be moved to jail, and her transfer would be a medical decision.

Officers were called to the motel room in response to a 911 call from a hotel employee about a guest refusing to leave. According to the 911 call, the woman was supposed to check out of the hotel but had asked to stay for an extra hour.

When an employee tried to get in the room, the door was locked. Despite repeated knocking, no one answered the door. The employees said Harpster dead-bolted the door and placed furniture in front of it to keep anyone from getting inside.

Witnesses said that, once police arrived, they saw through the door that Harpster and Joshua were on a bed. She had cuts on her arms and legs, and the boy was foaming at the mouth.

"It was kind of devastating," said motel guest Domeniyce Harris. "Every time we had seen him before, he was a nice little kid."

Motel employees told WRAL News that Harpster was involved in a custody dispute with Joshua's father and that she had been staying at the motel off and on for about three months. Mark Callahan told WRAL News that he had not seen Harpster or his son since 2009.

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  • ladyblue Oct 9, 2012

    So unless you walked in her shoes who are you to judge?" - jaecee452

    been to the bottom of the ladder BUT I NEVER said i wanted my son to suffer with me so ys, i can judge her and she is a selfish woman....totally selfish as she didnt want her child to be be loved by anyone whom would take him from her. No doubt drugs and selfish thinking made her act that way..

  • reader1974 Oct 9, 2012

    I dont feel sorry for her.. she murdered her an innocent child. her OWN child. I'll throw more than a book at her!

  • h3ardita11b4 Oct 9, 2012

    We've had our share of struggles. There was a time or two when we didn't even have money to buy milk for our baby. Through it all NOT once did taking our son's life become an option. She was selfish, that's why she took that baby's life. Anyone defending her should be ashamed of themselves. Pity is the last thing she deserves.....

  • NotFromHere Oct 9, 2012

    "If Father's rights were as important to the courts as Mother's rights, stuff like this would never have happened." - Marty King

    Maybe not "never have happened". But in many cases the mothers get custody of the children when the fathers are much more qualified, stable and sane.

  • NotFromHere Oct 9, 2012

    "How do you know this....You wasn't living in her shoes, you don't know what she went through or what state of mind she was in...So unless you walked in her shoes who are you to judge?" - jaecee452

    I'm sure if the father had killed the child in the same exact situation, you'd be singing a different toon. When fathers kill children the fathers are always abusive monsters. But when a mother does it, it is always someone else's fault. I'm surprised you haven't blamed the father for this.

  • NotFromHere Oct 9, 2012

    "She didn't have to prove to the courts in Florida what was best for the baby...She had primary custody of him. The father was not in the baby's life for over two years...And suddenly he wanted custody...Where was he when the baby needed him from the date of birth until his death? It appears that he only wanted the baby after he got married..." - jaecee452

    And where are you getting all this from? You just making up your own version of the story? Who knows how long she's been on the run, or whether nor not the father knew where the mother and child were since 2009.

  • albegadeep Oct 9, 2012

    Hang on... two cellphones, two notebooks, two bags with clothing... Sounds like there was somebody else there! Who would carry two of everything?

  • free2bme Oct 9, 2012

    What a sad story for this beautiful little boy? He definitely deserved better than to be murdered at the hands of his own mother. She definitely needs to be charged for this crime. There is no excuse for her taking the life of this innocent child. I don't care what she was going through. We all have had some rough times in life, but it is never right to take a child's life. If she really loved this child, she would have given him to his father or to someone to care for him since she was not able to.

  • Marty King Oct 8, 2012

    If Father's rights were as important to the courts as Mother's rights, stuff like this would never have happened.

  • OneLove Oct 8, 2012

    jaecee452 - Honestly, I don't care what she was going thru. What I care about was that innocent child. I don't have to walk in her shoes to know you shouldn't kill your child... NO MATTER YOUR OWN circumstances, there WAS a better option she overlooked.

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