PERTH AMBOY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Disturbing details continue to emerge surrounding the death of a toddler in New Jersey who was missing for three years, this as her mother and her mother's boyfriend are making court appearances in the case.
Matthew Chiles III, 29, is charged with first-degree murder, desecration of human remains, and two counts of child endangerment. Monique Durham is charged with two counts of child endangerment as well as theft, for allegedly continuing to collect child support even though her 2-year-old daughter was dead.
According to documents obtained exclusively by Eyewitness News, Child Protective Services was contacted twice, on November 6, 2021, and February 22, 2022, with abuse allegations regarding the deceased girl's surviving twin sister.
From then through June of 2022, Durham was said to be uncooperative and failed to produce the child during multiple CPS home visits.
Then, on June 1, CPS contacted the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office to consider the child missing. Then, on July 26, after an exhaustive search, CPS contacted Edison police to perform a welfare check on the twins.
Responding officers said Durham obstructed their visit and told them she had given up custody to a paternal aunt in North Carolina.
Authorities said the subsequent investigation revealed that the name they were given was a person who didn't exist, and the girl's father confirmed his sister did not have custody.
He also said he had no involvement in his daughters' lives outside of paying child support.
The case was then referred to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, which determined that the missing girl had not been seen by anyone since 2019.
According to officials, the investigation revealed that Chiles struck the girl numerous times at his father's residence in Perth Amboy. A son from another mother told detectives that he saw his father take her to the basement, where he assaulted her until her crying stopped.
Last week, Chiles' family spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News reporter Darla Miles.
"I actually called her once, and I asked her, where's your other daughter," the son's mother said. "And she basically told me, she's with a family member and why was I concerned about it and that was none of my concern."
The son told investigators he later saw the girl motionless on a bed, before Chiles left the house in the middle of the night and returned without the girl.
"My son told me the last memory he has of his little sister was she was getting a spanking by her parents, and after they spanked her, they put her in the bed," the mother said. "My son said he was looking through the door, and she was unresponsive."
The next day, the children were told that the girl had been adopted overnight and that they were forbidden to speak of her.
"He would say that she's adopted, but Monique would get mad at me," the mother said. "She just had a nasty attitude because I asked her where was she. She was very upset, and I don't know why."
Chiles and Durham were later found at a motel in Metuchen, where police say Durham confessed that Chiles killed her daughter and disposed of the body. She also admitted to hiding the surviving twin girl when authorities would visit.
According to the criminal complaint, the child died on June 6, 2019. It states, "Ms. Durham watched Chiles walk out of the residence with (child's) body in his arms."
When he returned without the girl's body, he told Durham, "It would be better if she didn't know where he had hidden her," according to the complaint.
The son said he never stopped asking about his sister to their father and the child's mother.
"She's been gone for like three years, and I didn't see her," the son said. "And I just wanted to know where she was at because I missed her."
Chiles appeared in court Tuesday and had to be reprimanded twice for uncontrolled outbursts.
Durham was in court Friday and was released with home detention and electric monitoring and is not allowed to be unsupervised with children under the age of 18.
As to why Durham never went to police, prosecutors say Chiles physically abused her extensively and threantened to kill her and her family if she ever uttered a word.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Perth Amboy Police Department at (732) 442-4400, Edison Police Department at (732) 248-7400 or the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at (732) 745-3927.
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