- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - A police officer who searched for a 3-year-old boy reported missing by his father became emotional Tuesday at the father’s murder trial as she testified about her canine partner alerting her to the child’s body in a creek.

Constance Nicholson, an officer with the Delaware River Port Authority, recounted how hopeful she had been that Brendan Creato would be found alive.

“I had a jacket on because it was chilly that morning,” she said. “I thought that I would maybe wear it because if I found the child, I could put it on him.”

Prosecutors say 23-year-old David “D.J.” Creato Jr., of Haddon Township, killed Brendan because the boy had become an impediment to his relationship with a teenage girlfriend. Creato maintains his innocence, saying his son wandered away from home on his own shortly before he was found in October 2015 about a mile from his father’s home.

Creato’s mother, Lisa, also testified Tuesday, recalling how she ran to her son’s home less than two blocks away after he called to report her grandson was missing.

“I flew out of there, and I yelled at my husband to get up, that the baby was missing,” she said, adding that she told her son to immediately call police.

Lisa Creato was moved to tears when photos of the pajamas the boy had been wearing the night he died were shown in court. She also testified that she sometimes visits psychics and, like her son, believes in spirits.

During her testimony last week, the boy’s mother testified that she secretly recorded David Creato suggesting maybe “a spirit” had drawn their son to the woods in the dead of night.

Samantha Denoto said she recorded Creato at the request of criminal investigators. She called his reasoning “completely odd and unexplainable.”

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