Breanna Miccolo clutches her late son’s teddy bear and leaves his room as it existed before his death. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)
BARNEGAT – Your dark eyes tell a story of anger, remorse and sadness. Breanna Micciolo’s son Corey died suddenly on April 2nd, just a month before his seventh birthday.
Corey, who lived in Barnegat for only a few months, was a first grader at the Cecil S. Collins School.
While mourning his loss, the 24-year-old mother seeks justice to avenge Corey’s wrongful death.
It’s not just that children shouldn’t die before their parents. Breanna believes her son’s death was caused by someone else and bases her feelings on allegedly repeated abuse cases.
Corey’s mother and grandmother stand in front of a table that now serves as a shrine for him. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)
The Ocean County Attorney’s Office continues to investigate Corey Micciolo’s death. The same law enforcement agency brought charges against Christopher John Gregor last week.
Gregor, the child’s father, surrendered to the authorities on July 9th. The Ocean County Jail Records records show that he was imprisoned – at least temporarily – without bail for endangering the child’s welfare.
Gregor had denied these allegations before his arrest on social media and wrote that there would be consequences for the disclosure of false information.
Breanna fought hard on what she hopes will be provisional indictments over a single occurrence in March. She says authorities based her current allegations on video evidence of the abuse. But the young mother admits that there is more – and blames the system for her son’s failure.
“The first time he visited his father, he came home with a broken lip,” said Breanna. “I went to the police station and they called DCPP (NJ Child Protective Services). Chris said he accidentally kicked his face while trying to kick a soccer ball. You (DCPP) have closed the case. “
After a subsequent visit around Halloween 2019, Corey came home with what Breanna looked like a carpet fire. It started on the top of his face and extended down his arms and legs. The boy also had a slap in the face.
“Corey told me his dad told him he was fat and let him run on the treadmill,” said Breanna. “What looked like a carpet fire was probably from him falling on the rubber on the treadmill.”
Photo by Stephanie Faughnan
Breanna reached out to DCPP directly this time, saying Gregor had admitted to putting her son on the treadmill. The clerk told him not to do it again – a mandate that Gregor apparently ignored. According to Breanna, prosecutors based their indictment on a videotaped incident involving a treadmill in the gym of the clubhouse where he lived in Barnegat.
Gregor wasn’t always in Corey’s life and didn’t even know he had a son. Breanna was only 16 when Corey was conceived; Gregor was 21st paternity tests in 2018 confirmed that he was the father.
Breanna’s mother, Rebecca Micciolo, admitted she regretted getting her daughter to tell Corey about his father. But it seemed right then.
“When we picked Corey up from preschool, he’d ask why he didn’t have a daddy to pick him up,” Rebecca explained. “I started thinking about how kids at school make things for their fathers, and he didn’t have any. Besides, Corey kept asking and just wanted a father. “
Although Breanna says the father kept the child’s maintenance orders, she recalls that Gregor waited almost a year to see her son. The two went to court, and eventually Gregor took custody of Corey. Father and son initially stayed with Gregor’s parents in Monroe until Gregor moved to Barnegat.
Meanwhile, Breanna began photographing more unexplained bruises and even bite marks. Fingerprints stained Corey’s arms and legs, and once he came home with a pool of blood at the bottom of his eyes. Breanna continued to alert the state child protection agent.
One of the photos pinned to the refrigerator now has the sacred card of Corey’s funeral. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)
“He told us that his father hit him or that he was trying to get away from his father,” Breanna said. “It was just so much in a short amount of time.”
“I would tell the DCPP clerk that he doesn’t want to go with his father,” Breanna continued. “Corey hid in closets and cried – kicked and screamed that he didn’t want to leave. They told me he had to go anyway. “
As a mother, Breanna knew she had to protect her son and couldn’t wait for DCPP to intervene. She convinced Gregor to allow her to stay the night and says he asked her to have sex as part of her arrangement. Eventually the young woman couldn’t take it any longer and went home to stay with her mother in Englishtown.
Up until that point, Corey had admitted to none other than his mother and grandmother that his father had harmed him. That is, until the day before his death.
On April 1, Breanna took Corey for an examination by his pediatrician. The doctor’s notes read, “Mom said that last Saturday she noticed the bruises on her chest, left upper arm and left hip, which are now yellow / green. He also had an abrasion on his left forehead and several abrasions on his chest. “
The doctor’s typed summary went on, “Corey says he sustained bruises on his chest, arm, and hips, as well as abrasions on his forehead while playing on grass outside. He said his father taught him to catch a soccer ball. When I kept squeezing him, he said he got more bruises when he fell off the treadmill. He said he had to run fast because his father said he was too fat. “
Next to being referred to the Jersey Shore Medical Center, doctors there made an appointment with a child abuse expert across the street from the hospital. Gregor was asked to meet Breanna with Corey the next day. He never came to the office.
Instead, Gregor called Breanna at 3:30 p.m. and asked for insurance information. He said the boy is not doing well and that he is planning to take him to the hospital and will not identify the medical facility. That was the last time Breanna spoke to her son’s father.
Corey is buried with his maternal great-grandmother. The family has decorated the tomb while waiting for a new tombstone. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)
The desperate mother shouted around trying to find the hospital Gregor had taken Corey to. When she finally found out it was the Southern Ocean County Medical Center, Breanna ran out the door. It was now 5:30 p.m.
Englishtown police met Breanna as she was leaving her home. She had no idea why they were there.
“You came to tell me that Corey has died,” Breanna said. “I was shocked.”
Breanna only recently learned of Corey’s official cause of death after waiting months for the coroner’s final decision.
“I was told by prosecutors that Corey died of a heart contusion,” said Breanna. “They’re still investigating the cause of death.”
Meanwhile, Breanna has taken to social media with her own thoughts. She floods Facebook with calls for justice and ignores requests to refrain from accusations. The young mother tells her story on some YouTube talk shows and podcasts.
“I won’t stop no matter what someone tells me,” Breanna said. “I want justice.”
Corey was Rebecca’s only grandchild and Breanna’s only child. Even before his death, the family home had countless photos of Corey as a child. A side table with framed pictures has now lit candles and resembles a shrine built to commemorate the boy.
The door to Corey’s room remains open and his bed is made up with a favorite teddy bear on it. A sacred funeral home card is affixed to the family refrigerator next to one of Corey’s photos.
Breanna visits the cemetery where Corey is buried at least twice a day. She can’t believe she is now without the little boy who made her smile.
“Instead of thinking about where to buy her first home, Breanna thinks about another investment,” said Rebecca. “She wants to buy a piece of land in the same cemetery so that when she dies she’ll always be around Corey.”
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