Stepmom of scalded Ohio boy who died is charged with murder


LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A woman accused of killing her 4-year-old stepson by putting him in scalding water as punishment the day before he was found dead has been indicted on murder and other charges.

Grand jurors indicted Anna Ritchie on charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and endangering children, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Monday.

One of Ritchie’s attorneys, Seth Cantwell, declined to comment on the case.

Ritchie, of Franklin, put Austin Cooper in water estimated at around 130 degrees for at least 20 minutes and resented being his primary caregiver, Fornshell said.

The boy was bleeding and had skin coming off his legs when Ritchie put him to bed without treatment, he said.

“I can’t think of any scenario … where you would do that to a child,” Fornshell told WLWT-TV.

A Franklin detective testified in March that Ritchie told police she put ointment and socks on the boy to hide burns. Ritchie later admitted hearing Austin crying, ignored his distress and told his father not to check on him that night, the investigator said.

The county coroner concluded the boy died of shock from blood and fluid loss resulting from his burns, Fornshell said. He would have had a 95 percent chance of surviving had he been hospitalized.

“This was a completely treatable injury,” Fornshell said.

Ritchie faces a prison sentence of 15 years to life on the murder charge. She is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

Sheri Gredig, the boy’s grandmother, told WCPO-TV that Ritchie deserves at least a life term.

“Anna Ritchie is pure evil,” she said.

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