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Mother charged with murder in death of 3-year-old son in Bel Air

Mother charged with murder in death of 3-year-old son in Bel Air
Mother charged with murder in death of 3-year-old son in Bel Air 01:51

BALTIMORE -- A woman is accused of killing her 3-year-old son Sunday morning in Bel Air, Maryland, police said. 

Gloria Hughes, a 37-year-old woman from Morganton, North Carolina, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. She is being held without bond.

Police said an off-duty Harford County Sheriff's Deputy was driving on the 400 block of Main Street when he saw Hughes standing in the street, holding the lifeless toddler. 

Court records show that a Bel Air storage business was the scene where the child, identified as Jason Garcia, was killed.

"Our community is grieving because of this incident," Bel Air Police Chief Charles Moore said.

Charging documents obtained by WJZ suggest the child's father alerted police in North Carolina to a custody dispute Saturday morning.

Documents show the boy was treated and released from UCMC's emergency room in Bel Air for ingesting acid Saturday night.

Hours later, Hughes' car was spotted at the American Legion, and video showed her walking with her son along Broadway to Main Street.

"We had significant physical evidence there, including physical evidence sustained by the child that appeared to be produced by a person," Moore said.

WJZ viewed a photo from a surveillance camera showing a woman holding a child's lifeless body.

The video's owner said the first car that encountered her as she was pacing in the middle of the street was a Harford County sheriff's deputy. 

Hughes was charged based on "significant evidence," police said, which includes video evidence. No additional suspects were named.

Prosecutors called the killing "heinous and barbaric." Charging documents allege video shows Hughes repeatedly struck her son.

"Extensive head and facial trauma. Horrible," Moore said. "This is heartbreaking for us. It's heartbreaking for our community."

A judge ordered Hughes to be evaluated for her competency. 

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