This is so disturbing.
An Ohio woman was arrested after confessing to punishing her 4-year-old stepson by putting his legs in scalding hot water — which resulted in his death.
According to reports, Anna Ritchie disciplined her stepson Austin Derreck Cooper on Tuesday night by dunking both his legs in blistering hot water before putting him to bed.
Police say the child stopped breathing in the middle of the night and was found unresponsive by his father Wednesday morning.
Austin was pronounced dead shortly after being transferred to a nearby hospital.
The coroner ruled the boy’s death a homicide, saying he died from third-degree burns after his legs were placed in “scalding hot water.”
The 25-year-old stepmother admitted to putting Austin’s legs in the burning water as a punishment — and is now seen by the family as “pure evil.”
During a preliminary hearing on Friday morning, Austin’s grandmother spoke at a video arraignment for Ritchie, saying:
“Anna Ritchie is pure evil. She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison, if not the death penalty.”
The stepmother is charged with felony child endangerment, and is due to appear in court next week while a grand jury considers more severe charges against her.
This is so unsettling. Our hearts go out to Austin’s family at this devastating time.
[Image via Franklin Police Department.]