BURLINGTON CITY, N.J. — The family of a woman accused of throwing a 5-year-old girl in front of a moving train on Friday says she has “mental health issues,” NJ.com reports.
Autumn Matacchiera, 20, is charged with attempted murder following the incident, which happened on a New Jersey Transit light rail platform.
Around 8:30 p.m. that evening, an NJ Transit bus driver flagged down a police officer to report that Matacchiera was acting “suspiciously.” As officers arrived at the train platform, Matacchiera allegedly grabbed the unsuspecting young girl as she stood next to her mother and threw her onto the tracks as a train was approaching.
Officers were able to jump onto the tracks and signal for the train to stop so the mother’s boyfriend could pull the girl to safety. Matacchiera was arrested and taken into custody.
“She is not a criminal,” Autumn’s mother, Laura Matacchiera, told NJ.com. “She has mental health issues. It’s an ongoing problem,” she said, adding that her daughter had resided in multiple mental health facilities — but has been repeatedly released despite objections from family.
Meanwhile, the girl was taken to a hospital with a cut to her face and bruising.
Police said Matacchiera did not know the girl she attacked.