A stepmother from the United States, who watched her stepson die after holding him in severely hot water, has now been convicted by the court.
As reported by Yahoo! news, the stepmother held his legs in a scalding hot bath for more than 20 minutes until his skin began blistering off.
The convicted mother is Anna Ritchie, a 25-year-old from Ohio. She placed her stepson, Austin Cooper, into the scalding bath as a form of punishment and forced him to stay there helplessly for more than 20 minutes, according to prosecutors.
Ritchie now faces 15 years to life in prison for the alleged murder of her husband’s son Austin Cooper. She had previously admitted to dipping the boy’s legs in scalding hot water on March 15 to “teach him a lesson” for refusing to take a bath. Prosecutors say that the temperature was in excess of 131 Fahrenheit.
According to 9 News, The boy was refused medical treatment and sent to bed, where he bled out and died, still whimpering for help.
The boy’s father only discovered the dead body of his toddler next morning, and he immediately called 911.
“I think my son died … he is stiff as a board,” he told 911 dispatchers. “He got into a hot bath last night with my wife, and she thought he’d be OK.”
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the 25-year-old, who is now facing murder charges, now regrets her decision to become primary caregiver for the child.
“I can’t think of any scenario… where you would do that to a child,” Fornshell said during a press conference.
Fornshell also added that the death was avoidable if Ritchie had called the paramedics.
It would have taken just four seconds to burn the boy, who had a 95 percent survival rate if paramedics treated the injury immediately, Fornshell added.
Austin died from hypovolemic shock. Fornshell said that, as a result of the burns and bleeding, the boy started to lose blood and body electrolytes. Eventually, the blood pressure bottoms out, and the organs failed during hypovolemic shock.
The child’s skin was hanging off his body, and he was badly bleeding, but instead of giving him immediate medical care, the stepmother dressed him in pajamas and socks and then put him to bed, prosecutors said.
The boy’s grandmother, Sheri Gredig, described Ritchie as “pure evil.” She added that no punishment is severe enough for the crime Anna has committed.
“She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison, if not the death penalty, she just acts like she didn’t do anything wrong, like she spanked him. She should never be allowed to walk the streets again… I want her to get the death penalty. She took my baby”, the emotional grandmother told to press.
Anna now faces severe charges including murder and involuntary manslaughter, as well as child endangerment and felonious assault.
According to KUTV, her husband got custody of Austin in January when Austin’s mother didn’t show up for a custody hearing. As a father, Ritchie usually took care of his son. Fornshell says they don’t believe there was any previous criminal abuse by the mother, but he added that the investigation has shown she was often rough with her stepson.
[Image via Franklin Police Department]