Local News

Airman pleads guilty to killing toddler son

Posted January 28, 2014 2:46 p.m. EST

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.