Local News

Mom charged in 2-year-old's death released from hospital

Posted October 11, 2012

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A woman detained for the death of her 2-year-old son has been formally charged with murder.

A Raleigh police spokesman said Thursday that Michelle Harpster, 29, was discharged from WakeMed where she was being treated for injuries stemming from a suicide attempt after she allegedly killed Joshua Callahan on Sept. 26.

Police found the two inside a Super 8 Motel on New Bern Avenue after a motel employee reported that Harpster was locked in the room and would not leave.

Authorities haven't commented on the case, but search warrants released Monday show that investigators retrieved cellphones, notebooks, broken glass and razor blades from the motel room.

The child's father, Mark Callahan, of North Port, Fla., has said he had not seen his son since 2009 and that he was seeking full custody of Joshua.

Two days before the boy's death, a judge ruled Florida courts would handle the custody case.

18 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • JAT Oct 12, 2012

    Ol - she wasn't thinking about that when she slit her arms and legs. That had to be almost unbearable pain. She wanted to kill herself for whatever reason - either she realized what she'd done, or she realized the child had died by accident (do we have an autopsy report on the kid yet) or maybe some other outside reason that caused her to snap that day. She wasn't a monster until whatever happened that day - she was doing the best she could with what she had. We don't know what circumstances led her to be on her own in Raleigh, but there's nothing before this that said she was anything but a loving mother.

  • JAT Oct 12, 2012

    I seem to recall that the father had only seen the child a few times; that they split up before the kid was even born. It wouldn't be in the best interest of the child to take him from the only parent he's ever known and give him to the father, either. It was a sad case that probably had nothing to do with the custody case. She didn't know where to turn. He wasn't there to help at all. A bad situation all around.

  • Ol Forrester Oct 12, 2012

    I wish they'd use the term "apparent suicide attempt" in this article. Remember, she knew that hotel housekeeping would be checking within an hour. Of course, that could be coincidence.

  • romneycare Oct 12, 2012

    @Tarheelfan Also, the father in this case was married to another woman in 2010. Instead of being a mother to this young boy, the mother held personal grudges against the father and killed the kid. Then tried to take her own life but failed.

    Father lives in florida, kid was born in maryland, then she was staying in a hotel in raleigh... Does that sound like best interest of the child? Father never moved away from florida and the mother kept running around.

    Why / where did you hear about child support? If that is the case, the father would be in jail.

  • romneycare Oct 12, 2012

    @tarheelfan4life2005. Maybe I didn't read the same article as you, but from what I understand, the father just won an appeal for the custody battle... How does a deadbeat father who dosen't pay child support, get the florida courts to side with him?

    The mother moved away from florida where the father stays... Why blame the father??

  • DangYankee Oct 12, 2012

    @tarheelfan4life2005: Reread the article.

    "The child's father, Mark Callahan, of North Port, Fla., has said he had not seen his son since 2009 and that he was seeking full custody of Joshua.

    Two days before the boy's death, a judge ruled Florida courts would handle the custody case."

    Sounds like the father has been trying to get custody, but the courts don't favor dads. From other articles I've read about this, she sounds like she kept moving around, to either keep the dad away, or for other reasons. I find it odd that she had so many cell phones, laptops, etc., and could afford "temporary" housing in hotels/motels, albeit not exactly the Ritz-Carlton.

  • iknowmyschnitzel Oct 12, 2012

    She has no bond cause she went straight to prison.

  • tarheelfan4life2005 Oct 12, 2012

    She and this child's father needs to be taken out back and whipped.....Neither her nor the father should have been parents from the get go!! Anyone would have taken this little boy and cared for him, but she did not ask for help and again there was a deadbeat father not paying child support involved in this senario as well!!

  • romneycare Oct 12, 2012

    the child is 3 in 1 more month. So it isn't odd at all :)

  • determined2win Oct 12, 2012

    Odd - Dad says he hadn't seen child 'since 2009'. Child stated as being 2 years-old.

More...