CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The mom accused of murdering her son in Horsham, Pennsylvania appeared in a New Jersey courtroom Friday following her arrest at the shore.
Ruth DiRienzo-Whitehead, 50, is accused of strangling her 11-year-old son, Matthew Whitehead, in their home on Monday night.
Her husband awoke to find his son dead and his wife missing.
Police in New Jersey found DiRienzo-Whitehead outside her family's beach house in Wildwood Crest after her SUV was found partially submerged in the ocean in Cape May.
Documents show DiRienzo-Whitehead told police she didn't want Matthew to grow up with her family's financial problems, so she strangled him with her husband's belt as he slept.
She is charged with first-degree murder.
During Friday's hearing, DiRienzo-Whitehead only spoke to give one-word answers to the judge in Cape May County.
Her lawyer, Eugene Tinari, told the court his client agreed not to contest extradition from New Jersey back to Pennsylvania.
Judge Bernard DeLury told DiRienzo-Whitehead she had a right to an extradition hearing, and she had a right to waive that hearing.
DeLury asked DiRienzo-Whitehead if she understood.
"Yes," she replied.
The judge then asked her if she wished to waive that hearing and be returned to Pennsylvania.
"Yes," she replied again.
DiRienzo-Whitehead was transported from Cape May County back to Montgomery County just a short time later.
"They have her in what's called a suicide suit. For a reason," Tinari told Action News.
Her defense attorney says DiRienzo-Whitehead does not deny killing her son, but says she is suffering from mental illness.
"A lot of difficulty, as she already stated, with finances. But it was a lot more than that. It's not that simple. There's a multitude of factors and layers that contributed to how she got to this point," said Tinari.
Because she's charged with first-degree murder DiRienzo-Whitehead will be held without bail.