April 17, 2017
The scene near where tot Brendan Creato's lifeless body was discovered Oct. 13, 2015, was cleared of most – but not all – memorial reminders over the weekend, perhaps facilitating a visit by the jury that will hear his father's murder trial.
But the actual scene where the toddler's body was recovered, a large rock in a stream deeper into Cooper River Park, still has memorials in place, seemingly overlooked.
A huge tree that had fallen across one of two paths leading to the creek had also been removed.
A South Jersey Superior Court judge tentatively ruled last week that the jury hearing the murder case against the 3-year-old boy's father, David "DJ" Creato, could visit the scene if "logistics" were addressed.
Access to the scene was one of those logistical issues, with the tree blocking the most direct path to where the child' body was found on that fall Tuesday morning. Creato was charged with his son's murder and child endangerment in January 2016 and has remained jailed since.
The other issue was the potentially prejudicial assortment of memorials to the child.
Most, on and around a large tree situated on the border of the park, were removed Saturday, as was the fallen tree.
But Camden County workers left in place, as of Monday morning, another smaller display of memorials near where a police dog found Brendan Creato's body.
A bench and memorial plaque honoring the child are also visible nearby.
Jury selection in the high-profile case is set for Tuesday morning at the Camden County courthouse.
That task is expected to run to at least Wednesday, meaning opening arguments could begin Thursday morning.
It is unclear when the jury might visit the scene if the judge ultimately approves the visit, which would include a drive past the apartment, about a half a mile away, that Brendan shared with his father.
The child was found in pajamas and clean white socks, his arms and legs submerged in the creek, stomach down on the rock, head to one side, his hair on that side damp.
The county medical examiner, after three autopsies were performed, concluded in December 2015 that the death was a homicide, but the exact cause was listed as "unknown."