BURLINGTON CITY, New Jersey — The family of a woman accused of throwing a 5-year-old girl in front of a moving train on Friday evening says she has “mental health issues,” NJ.com reports.
Autumn Matacchiera, 20, is charged with attempted murder following the incident, which happened on a light rail platform.
Burlington police told the website that a NJ transit bus driver had flagged down an officer to report that Matacchiera was acting “suspiciously.” As officers arrived at the train platform, Matacchiera allegedly grabbed the young girl 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 as the 5-year-old girl was pulled from the tracks to safety by her mother’s boyfriend.
Matacchiera was arrested and taken into custody, the report said.
“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.