Investigators are searching for a man recently indicted in the 2010 killing of a child under his care.
Larry Atwell, 44, is charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of Cory Sechtin, 1, who suffered an ultimately fatal head injury while at the man’s Egg Harbor Township home.
Atwell was taking care of Cory because his wife, who normally baby-sat, was sick, said Sechtin’s mother, Molly Morton.
An ambulance was called to Atwell’s residence Sept. 5, 2010, when he told emergency workers that the Ventnor boy fell head-first after climbing a 5-foot-high slide. The child died three days later, with the cause of death pending investigation.
The result of the investigation was not revealed until January 2011, when the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office included it in a list of homicides provided to The Press of Atlantic City.
That’s when Cory’s mother was able to confirm what she had believed all along: Someone killed her son.
Still, no one was charged.
Morton knew Atwell was the only adult in the home when Cory was injured. She also knew the Atwells were moving, and feared they would run before charges could be filed.
Then, last month, a grand jury heard the charges and indicted Atwell, who by then was living in Somers Point, Morton said.
“I was extremely excited that at least they moved and did something,” Morton said of the Prosecutor’s Office. “But there’s not really much to celebrate now.”
Instead, she is left waiting to see if investigators are able to find Atwell.
“I’m like on the edge of my seat waiting,” Morton said. “It seems like he’s fallen off the face of the planet. As far as I know, he could be gone.”
Acting Prosecutor Jim McClain would not comment on the case.
On June 28, a grand jury handed up a three-count indictment that includes aggravated manslaughter — a first-degree crime that is a step below murder. His bail is set at $350,000 cash — when he’s arrested.
Morton, 30, now lives in Woodbine with her fiancee and their son, Logan, who will turn 1 next month.
She hopes she will soon get the call that Atwell is in custody.
“I just want him in jail,” Morton said. “At this point, I’m still waiting. I’m anxious, I’m not sleeping. I would feel a lot better if he was just caught.”
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