Berkeley Twp. Father, Mother Indicted in Drowning of 2-Year-Old

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the indictment of Robert S. Trella, 41, and Brigitte M. McCarthy, 31, of Berkeley Township, which resulted from the investigation into the drowning death of their 2-year-old female child.

Details of the full eleven (11) count Indictment returned on June 2nd by the Ocean County Grand Jury is attached.

The breakdown of specific counts and charges per each defendant are as follows:

Brigitte M. Mccarthy
* Count one – endangering the welfare of a child-second degree
* Count two – endangering the welfare of a child-second degree
* Count three – possession of a controlled dangerous substance-third degree
* Count four – possession of a controlled dangerous substance-third degree
* Count five – possession of a controlled dangerous substance-third degree
*
Robert S. Trella Jr
* Count six – endangering the welfare of a child-second degree
* Count seven – endangering the welfare of a child-second degree
* Count eight – possession of a controlled dangerous substance-third degree
* Count nine – possession of a controlled dangerous substance-third degree
* Count ten – possession of a controlled dangerous substance-third degree
* Count eleven – tampering with evidence-fourth degree

The indictment stems from the January 20, 2016, arrest by Officers from the Berkeley Twp. Police Department of Trella for two counts of 2nd degree endangering the welfare of a child, possession of CDS and tampering with evidence.

A day later, on January 21, Berkeley PD Officers also arrested McCarthy for two counts of 2nd degree endangering the welfare of a child and possession of CDS.

Both arrests were in connection with the investigation into the drowning death. Both remain incarcerated since the time of their arrest on bail set at $150,000, no 10 percent, and no contact with victim.

The tragic event began on August 17, 2015, when Ptl. Alexander Houle, of the Berkeley Twp. Police Department, was dispatched to a residential area within the township for a report of a 9-year-old girl running down the street stating that her 2-year-old sister was missing.

Ultimately, the child’s sister, a 2-year-old female, identified as M.M, was located unresponsive in a neighboring swimming pool.

M.M. was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River where she was pronounced dead.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that McCarthy was the mother of M.M., the 9-year-old female, as well as another sibling.

The father of M.M. was also determined to be Robert S. Trella. McCarthy and Trella shared a residence in Berkeley Twp. along with the three children.

When law enforcement officers entered the family home, marijuana and heroin were discovered within the residence. McCarthy further instructed her 9-year-old daughter to retrieve a tin containing suspected heroin in the presence of the investigating law enforcement officers. Trella further attempted to destroy marijuana located within the home.

Witnesses in the area advised police that M.M. had been seen wandering around the neighborhood unsupervised on prior occasions before her death. It was further revealed that M.M.’s 9-year-sister assumed many of the care taking responsibilities for M.M.