4-Year-Old Dead After Stepmother Dips His Legs In Boiling Water As Punishment, Scalding Burns Led To Child’s Death

A 25-year-old woman from Franklin, Ohio, is behind bars after allegedly dipping her 4-year-old stepson’s legs in boiling water as a punishment. When she attempted to wake him up the following morning, he was unresponsive. The stepmother claims she did not believe the boiling water would cause serious damage to the 4-year-old boy.

Anna Ritchie, according to CBS News, claims the boy, Austin Cooper, was misbehaving on Tuesday night and she felt he should be punished. So, she boiled some water and dipped his legs in the water, hoping it would cause him to settle down and realize he was acting up. Afterward, she put him to bed. When she woke the next morning, she realized that Austin was not breathing, so she called the paramedics.

When paramedics arrived, he was non-responsive and they decided to rush him to the local hospital. While working on him, they were able to revive Austin. However, he died shortly afterward at the hospital.

Although the cause of death is not exactly known, an autopsy will be conducted to investigate further. The autopsy will be performed by the Warren County Coroner.

Anna Ritchie was placed under arrest for the abuse and charged with child endangerment. She is in the Warren County Jail on $350,000 bond. She was expected to be arraigned on Friday, March 18, via video. It is expected that more charges will be filed as the case investigation continues.

It is unknown if Ritchie suffers from any mental disorders. However, Metro claims that she was unaware that placing the child’s legs in boiling water would cause him any serious harm. Instead, she felt it was an adequate punishment and putting him to bed afterward would not result in any permanent harm.

The horrendous nature of the child abuse has caused outrage across the Internet. Many wonder how she did not know how harmful boiling water can be to a young child or how she could so casually decide to inflict such unspeakable pain on the young child.

The child’s grandmother, Sheri Gredig, is understandably irate over the death of her grandson, claiming Ritchie is nothing but “pure evil.”

“Anna Ritchie is pure evil,. She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison, if not the death penalty.”

Austin’s father also spoke on the matter, seemingly unknowing that his son had been scalded to such a horrendous degree. He placed the call to the police on Wednesday morning, hoping paramedics would arrive and save Austin’s life.

“I think my son died. He got into a hot bath last night with my wife and she thought he’d be OK.”

Austin received third degree burns as a result of being placed in the scalding water. The coroner could only confirm the burns as a cause of death initially, but will continue to conduct the autopsy to rule out any other type of abuse that might have led to the death of Austin. The case is considered to be an active investigation, and will continue to be so until all details are discovered. Potential time behind bars is unknown at this time due to the uncertainty of final charges that will be filed against Ritchie.

Other than the frantic call to police, Austin’s father has not spoken out on the matter. Austin’s grandmother has been more vocal, calling Ritchie a “monster.” Authorities hope to have final charges decided upon prior to the March 18 arraignment. More information will be added as it is available.

[Image via Franklin Police Department]