August 10, 2017
Amber Alert Toddler Rescued From Idling Car With Tail Pipe Plugged Allegedly By Mom

State troopers smashed a car window when they came across a woman and a child who appeared to be sleeping in an idling car. The mother and toddler were the subjects of an Amber Alert. The car was running, but the exhaust pipe was clogged with clothing and the windows were up, so either the woman and child were sleeping or unconscious at the time.

Members of Massachusetts area law enforcement agencies were on the lookout for the car, the woman, and the 3-year-old girl as an Amber Alert had been issued the day before when the woman threatened to harm her daughter. The two were found on Thursday morning in a wooded area of Charlton, Massachusetts, which is about 15 miles outside of Worcester, according to Fox News.

According to Fox News, 38-year-old Lee-Ann Rickheit of Worcester, Massachusetts, called a relative in the same city on Wednesday, and a comment that she made led the relative to call the police. The comment alluded to harming her 3-year-old daughter. This is when the Amber Alert went out.

The mother and daughter were the subjects of an overnight Amber Alert in the New England area until they were spotted at about 2:45 a.m. on Thursday. The Amber Alert is seen below that was posted on the Mass Amber Alert Twitter account.

It was the troopers from the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section who spotted the mother and daughter inside the running car parked in the woods in Charlton, according to the Boston Herald.

Upon approaching the car, it looked as if the two may be sleeping, but one of the state troopers smashed a window to gain access to the woman and toddler. At this point, two ambulances were called, and the mother and daughter were both transported to separate hospitals.

The toddler, whose name is Ella, was taken to UMASS Medical Center, where she is reported as "doing well." Rickheit was taken to St. Vincent's in Worcester. She was medically cleared and is being held at the State Police Barracks in Sturbridge on the charges of "attempted murder, assault and battery on a child, and reckless endangerment of a child," State Police spokesperson DaveProcopio said.
Rickheit is being held on a $500,000 bail after entering a plea of not guilty in court on Thursday to all charges. The attorney representing Rickheit said that his client didn't think any harm would come to her daughter because she "cracked open a window."

Local news first broke the story that the girl had been located and the Amber Alert was canceled. While the initial headlines indicated that the missing child was "found in the woods," it wasn't later until the full story was revealed.

[Featured Image by Jarhe Photography/Shutterstock]