Authorities have charged Christopher Gregor, 29, with murder after he reportedly forced his son to run on a treadmill — the latest incident in a purported string of horrific abuses, CNN reported on Thursday.
Gregor has also been charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
What are the details?
Prosecutors said that Gregor took his son to a local hospital in April 2021 after the child began complaining of nausea and shortness of breath. The child, whose name is identified through an obituary as Corey Micciolo, began having seizures and was later pronounced dead.
The Ocean County Medical Examiner's Office determined that the child — who was said to be covered in bruises — died as a result of "blunt impact injuries of the chest and abdomen with laceration of the heart" and other injuries including hemorrhaging of the liver.
Upon investigation into the child's death, investigators learned that Gregor reportedly forced his son to run on a treadmill "because he [was] fat."
Surveillance footage also showed Gregor and his late son entering a gym in an apartment complex in which Gregor lived. In the video, Gregor was seen forcing the child onto the treadmill and commanding him to run. The child, according to an affidavit, was seen falling off the treadmill no less than six times as Gregor continued to increase the speed. Each time, prosecutors said, Gregor pulled the child up by his shirt and placed him back on the moving treadmill.
A portion of the affidavit added, "The decedent appears to struggle to gain footing while Gregor appears to be biting on the top of the decedent's head."
A deeper look
Investigators determined that the child's injuries were consistent with abuse over a sustained period of time, and the child's mother and grandmother have stated that they reported the alleged continued abuse to New Jersey's Department of Child Protection and Permanency. The child's grandmother also stated that Gregor at one point refused to return the child after an overnight visit, and that the child returned with "blood on his shirt and mouth." An ex-girlfriend reportedly told authorities that she once witnessed an angered Gregor throw the child off of a boat while the three were crabbing.
Law & Crime reported that mother Breanna Micciolo had been in contact with the DCPP for nearly a year before the child's untimely death and told the agency that her son had been coming home from visitations with "bruises, scrapes, black eyes, and even a 'bite mark'" over the course of a year, and added that her son admitted he was "afraid of his father."
According to reports, the child's death came just one day after the court rejected an emergency filing from Breanna Micciolo seeking sole custody of the child. The judge, however, ended up ruling against Micciolo and stated that the request failed to “demonstrate that the minor child is in danger of imminent or irreparable harm."
Micciolo told the outlet that as such, she had no choice but to drop off her son at his father's house the very next day.
"Later that day, she claimed, Gregor called her to say their son was 'lethargic,' and that he took him to the hospital," the outlet reported. "Micciolo said she had been preparing to meet the two at a medical office on the advice of Corey’s pediatrician to determine what had been causing the boy’s injuries. Instead, she found herself desperately searching for her son."
She told the outlet, "[Gregor] did not tell me which hospital and then just left. I was still trying to figure out where [Corey] was. I found out that he had passed away.”
According to the report, Gregor fled the state after dropping off the child at the hospital and returned three months later, where he was immediately arrested.
Gregor's attorney, Mario Gallucci, has said that his client "had nothing to do with the death of this child."
A portion of the news release from Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Barnegat Township Police Chief Keith A. Germain stated:
On April 2, 2021, Officers from the Stafford Township Police Department responded to Southern Ocean Medical Center in reference to the death of a six-year-old male, identified as C.M. On April 3, 2021, a post-mortem examination was performed by the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, and it was determined that C.M. sustained injuries due to blunt force trauma. In the course of investigating the child’s death, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad and Barnegat Township Police Department discovered evidence that revealed that Gregor had committed acts of abuse against the child in Barnegat Township on March 20, 2021. As such, Gregor was charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A.2C:24-4a(2) on July 7, 2021. Though initially lodged in the Ocean County Jail, Gregor was subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.
On March 3, 2022, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office received a report from the State’s expert witness which indicated that C.M. died as a result of blunt force impact of the chest and abdomen, and determined the manner of the child’s death to be homicide. An extensive investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Barnegat Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, revealed that C.M. was in the custody of Gregor at the time he sustained his life-ending injuries, and that Gregor is the individual responsible for the child’s death.
Of the charges, Billhimer said, “I’m thankful for the collective effort of all of the law enforcement officers that participated in this very thorough and comprehensive investigation over the past 11 months. Today is the first step in bringing the person we believe is responsible for this young boy’s death to justice,” Billhimer said. “This truly was a team effort, and I’m grateful for the determination and resolve exhibited by all the agencies involved."
Remembering Corey Micciolo 💙 www.youtube.com