- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

BATLLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - No criminal charges are planned in the death of an 8-month-old boy in 1961, after a months-long investigation that involved exhuming the remains and interviewing the mother, authorities said.

Investigators appear to have incriminating statements from the mother, now 78, but her mental competency is an issue and a confession is not enough, said Daniel Buscher, chief assistant prosecutor in Calhoun County.

“The body was so degraded we had a rough time having any conclusion as to what caused the death,” Buscher told the Battle Creek Enquirer.

A forensic pathologist, Dr. Joyce deJong, “was not comfortable, based on the medical evidence that is available, to call it a homicide,” Buscher said. “Unless that is cleared up now or there is further testing later on, I would technically deny it at this point. But they are free to submit it with any new evidence.”

The boy’s death certificate says he died from a lack of oxygen due to regurgitation of baby formula. His mother is in a nursing home. Calhoun County sheriff’s detective Steve Hinkley said she has confessed to smothering her son.

Buscher said the case will remain open. The Associated Press is not identifying the woman or her son.

A daughter said she contacted the sheriff’s department in September after recording a conversation with her mother. The boy’s remains were exhumed in October.

Two sisters in the same family died before their first birthday in 1969 and 1970.

“We discussed it,” Buscher said of exhuming their remains, “but I am uncomfortable because I don’t want to disturb the remains, and I don’t believe there will be anything there that will cause us to charge or not charge.”

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