Mom of NJ Boy, 6, Allegedly Fatally Beaten by Dad Had Emergency Custody Bid Denied Day Before Son's Death

Corey Micciolo

Bre Micciolo tells Inside Edition Digital that DCPP never substantiated a single report of abuse during her son Corey's lifetime. She says over 100 calls were made to the agency about Corey.

On April 2, 2021, Christopher Gregor took his son Corey Micciolo to a New Jersey hospital.

The boy complained of nausea and shortness of breath, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Det. Denis Mitchell of the major crime unit and homicide squad in the Ocean County Prosecutor's Officer. Soon after arriving at the hospital, Corey started having seizures, the affidavit says.

An hour later, 6-year-old Corey Miccilo was dead.

The probable cause affidavit says that upon learning the news, Gregor got into his car and left the state. 

A medical examiner later determined Corey's death to be a homicide caused by blunt impact injuries, and in March 2022 prosecutors charged Gregor with first-degree murder. The little boy had multiple bruises on his body, including on his chest, arms and legs, as well as an abrasion to his right hip, the affidavit says.

Gregor has entered a plea of not guilty.

There are still a number of questions that remain unanswered, however, for Corey's mother, Bre Micciolo, including why it was only after her son's death that the agency meant to protect children took seriously some of her many claims that Corey's father was abusing him. “I did everything. I told them, I filmed his bruises, I recorded him telling me and my sister and my mother what his father was doing,” a frustrated and heartbroken Micciolo tells Inside Edition Digital. 

There is no evidence that DCPP substantiated any of Micciolo's claims during Corey's lifetime, she says, something that she believes only emboldened Gregor. "The more he got away with it, the worse the abuse got," Micciolo says. "And he was aware after the first time I reported it [in 2019]." 


The First Allegations of Child Abuse Made Against Christopher Gregor 

Gregor first came into his son's life in September 2019, Micciolo says. It wasn't long after they first began seeing each other that Micciolo says she began contacting New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) about Gregor's alleged treatment of Corey, she tells Inside Edition Digital.

Corey did not have a relationship with his father prior to 2019, but Micciolo says she had no say in the matter after a judge granted Gregor's request for partial custody.

In a probable cause affidavit, Micciolo's mother says that her daughter got pregnant after being sexually assaulted by Gregor, with whom she had never had a relationship.

Gregor's attorney, Mario F. Galucci, responded to that claim in a statement to Inisde Edition Digital. "Unfortunately, Ms. Micciolo’s mother (Rebecca) has a very vivid imagination," Gallucci says. "There is a reason she lost custody of Corey, and at this time I am not permitted to comment on that."

Corey's case worker told investigators there were numerous complaints that the child was a victim of abuse from both his mother and father, the affidavit says. 

However when they went through the records, investigators only found a single report of abuse made by Gregor against Micciolo, which was never substantiated by the agency.

There were seven reports of abuse against Gregor. none of which were substantiated prior to Corey's death says Micciolo.

Micciolo was never charged with abusing Corey. Micciolo was also immediately cooperative with police in the investigation of her son's death accorifng to the affidavit. After Corey's death, Gregor left the state. When he was eventually located, he checked out of the Tennessee hotel he informed law enforcement he would be staying at without notifying officials, the affidavit says.  

Micciolo's boyfriend of several years told police he never saw Micciolo abuse Corey. A longtime family friend of the Micciolos also told police Micciolo was a good mother who he never saw hit Corey, but noted Corey told him Gregor hit him, the affidavit says. A friend of Gregor's also recalled him throwing his son off of a boat, according to the affidavit.

It was after Corey's third visit with his father in September 2019 when Micciolo says she first grew concerned about the safety of her son.

Corey came home with a "busted lip" and "swollen face," but neither he nor his father would say what happened, says Micciolo.

Micciolo says she took pictures of his injuries and submitted them along with the little information she could gather to DCPP.

From that point on, whenever Corey came home injured, Micciolo says she documented the injuries and reported it to DCPP.

She estimates that she made over 100 calls to DCPP in a span of 18 months and filed multiple complaints alleging that Gregor had been beating their son. 

"They made it seem to be I was bothering them," she says of the case workers.

Micciolo provided Inside Edition Digital with the emails she sent to New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) for close to a year before her son's death.

In April 2020, she wrote: "I talked to someone on Friday about my son being abused, and no one continuing to investigate it. He’s got abused once again, and I found out about it yesterday. Many reports are made and nothing has been done. It’s a bruise very similar to the one made in December by his father. My family documented the bruise and my son saying he was hit at his father's household. We fear that he needs medical attention because I was told he seemed like he was in pain and had trouble doing anything like running or moving too much. Is someone going to do something about this abuse or are we going to allow his father to continue to hurt him? I have pictures of injuries that began in September which is when is father came into life. Please get back to me. Thank you."

In other emails Micciolo sent to DCPP that were reviewed by Inside Edition Digital, she both details her son's injuries and provides photographs that show Corey with bruises, scrapes, black eyes and what she identifies as a "bite mark" in one email from July 2020.

DCPP sent case workers to speak with Corey about the abuse claims while he was at his father's house, according to Micciolo, who says she voiced her concerns about that decision with DCPP. 

"[H]e’s afraid of his father," Micciolo wrote in an email after one of those interviews.

In another instance, Micciolo said she picked up Corey from school after he spent the night at his father's and noticed injuries on his face. "When questioned, [Corey said] Gregor made him run on the treadmill because he is fat," the affidavit says. "Gregor made the child lose weight because he believed [Corey] was fat. Gregor frequently weighed [Corey] and would make him work out to lose weight."

Micciolo continued to send updates to the agency and report her son's injuries. The probable cause affidavit notes that only seven reports were opened by DCPP into Micciolo's claims that Gregor had abused his son.


Bre Micciolo's Failed Custody Bid  

Micciolo fought for emergency custody of Corey after an incident that occurred on March 20, 2021.

The incident was captured on video surveillance footage at the fitness center at Atlantic Heights, where Gregor was living at the time. The footage shows Gregor pointing Corey to the treadmills, the affidavit says. 

"At approximately 1618 hours, [Corey] begins running on a treadmill. At approximately 1627 hours, Gregor approached the treadmill and appears to increase the speed," the affidavit says. "At approximately 1628 hours, [Corey] falls off of the back of the treadmill. Gregor subsequently picks [Corey] up by grabbing his shirt, putting him back in the moving treadmill. [Corey] appears to struggling to gain footing, while Gregor appears to be biting on the top of [Corey's] head.

"[Corey] regains footing and continues running on the treadmill," the affidavit continues. "Gregor appears to adjust the speed of the treadmill as [Corey] again falls off of the back. [Corey] attempts to run onto the moving treadmill four more times, falling off the back each time, while Gregor stands next to the treadmill."

On March 31, 2021, Micciolo filed an Order to Show Cause seeking custody of her son while DCPP investigated claims of abuse.

The next day, a judge said that the Order failed to “demonstrate that the minor child is in danger of imminent or irreparable harm," in his decision on that matter, which was obtained by Inside Edition Digital.

The judge further notes in his decision that "Micciolo certifies that she has concerns that the parties' minor child Corey has sustained injuries such as bruising and cuts from physical abuse perpetuated by Defendant Christopher Gregor."

A letter dated April 1, 2021 that had been submitted by DCPP outlining its preliminary findings on the March 20 incident was a key factor in the decision, says the judge.

The judge writes that the Court "does not find that ... Corey is in danger of imminent and irreparable harm. Therefore, the Court does not find a temporary modification of the parties' custody and parenting time arrangement appropriate at this time."

Months after Corey's death, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento would argue that the actions in the video were so egregious that Gregor should be denied bail in the case.

"The video that was viewed by the court really speaks for itself in illustrating that this defendant did abuse this child," Lento said in court. "I think when you watch the video, it’s fair to say that anyone who would do this to a child does pose a significant risk to the community."

The judge overseeing those proceedings, Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels, responded by stating: "It did show intolerant, cruel, despicable and injurious type of behavior by this defendant and that’s what the state focusses on for detention."

DCPP knew about this incident and at least one case worker had viewed the video, which he said showed Corey falling six times, and had seen Corey's injuries prior to the emergency hearing Micciolo requested the day before her son's death, according to the probable cause affidavit. That case worker told police he photographed and investigated bruising on Corey six days after the alleged incident.

Yet when it came to the issue of the custody of Corey, the judge denied Micciolo's order on the advice of DCPP.

Micciolo brought Corey to see a pediatrician at the suggestion of a DCPP caseworker the day before his death. There, Corey told the pediatrician about the incident involving the treadmill, which Micciolo told police happened because Gregor was angry. "[Corey] told Micciolo that Gregor made him run on the treadmill really fast because Gregor was mad. While running on the treadmill [Corey] fell and hit his head," the affidavit says. 

At the hospital, x-rays yielded negative results for injury and the bloodwork yielded levels within normal range, the affidavit says.  Those normal results less than 24 hours before his death would later prove crucial in the murder investigation.

Medical records viewed by Inside Edition Digital from his April 1 visit to the pediatrician reveal that the boy was covered in bruises at the time of that appointment. Corey told the doctor that some of the bruises were the result of him falling on the treadmill and others were from playing on turf.

Inside Edition Digital obtained a report from that visit, in which his doctor wrote that Corey “became tearful when he asked me to promise not to tell anyone what he said."

Micciolo then took Corey to a local hospital for x-rays and bloodwork, which showed no severe injuries and levels within the normal range the affidavit says.

The tests were completed after midnight. Micciolo tells Inside Edition Digital that she could not reach Gregor that night, so she took Cory back to her house for the night.

She then dropped off Corey at Gregor's home at about 9 a.m. on April 2, 2021. She told police she last heard from Gregor at about 3:30 p.m., when he told her he was taking Corey to the hospital. 

Corey's cause of death was blunt force injuries with cardiac and liver contusions with acute inflamation and sepsis.

In March 2022, prosecutors formally charged Gregor with murder and ordered him held without bond at the Ocean County Jail.

“On March 3, 2022, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office received a report from the State’s expert witness which indicated that [Corey] died as a result of blunt force impact of the chest and abdomen, and determined the manner of the child’s death to be a homicide,” Ocean County Prosecutors said in a press release after Gregor’s arrest. “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 [Corey] 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.”

Gregor faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

"Cory Micciolo died from complications from Pneumonia. Our expert and even the Ocean County Medical Examiner agreed on this early diagnosis, while it is tragedy it is not a homicide," Galucci tells Inside Edition Digital.  "My client completely denies all the allegations and is looking forward to a trial in a courtroom and not a trial by social media, as the Micciolo’s have been so diligently attempting to do.”


Abuse Allegations Substantiated After Corey Micciolo's Death 

DCPP would eventually substantiate two of the allegations of abuse made by Micciolo. Their substantiation came 20 months after her son's death, in December of last year.

The first incident substantiated by DCPP occurred on March 25. The second occurred just hours before Corey's death.

Micciolo says she was shocked and then upset when the letters were mailed to her home. She provided Inside Edition Digital with the letters, which both state: "The Division will not be providing further services to Corey Micciolo and his family."

Micciolo says she not only reported her concerns and accusations that Gregor was abusing Corey, but she also texted the caseworker on Corey's case directly about the next steps that could be taken to ensure her son's safety. 

"Since I’m in the area I’d like to meet with you if possible for an interview or if need be I’ll drive back to my house," Micciolo writes the caseworker on March 25 in a text message viewed by Inside Edition Digital.

She received no response. Five days later, Micciolo texted the caseworker again to provide him with a specific time frame for the treadmill incident.

"It’s Breanna I just wanted to let you know the incident took place Saturday March 20th around 4-5 p.m. to be more precise,"Micciolo writes.

Micciolo sent that text on March 31, the day before her emergency custody hearing and two days before the last time she saw Corey alive, when she was forced to drop him off at Gregor's. 

The New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency did not respond to Inside Edition Digital's multiple requests for comment.

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