$1M bond set for stepmom charged in fatal child scalding case

$1M bond set for stepmom charged in fatal child scalding case
Austin Cooper (Photo provided by Facebook)
Austin Cooper (Photo provided by Facebook)

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - Bond was set at $1 million Wednesday for the woman charged with scalding her 4-year-old stepson to death.

Anna Ritchie, 24, of Franklin pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment including two murder charges in a brief hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Warren County Prosecutor Dave Fornshell requested the $1 million bond due to the severity of the case.

Her lawyer said she is not a flight risk and has no criminal record.

But Judge Robert Peeler agreed with Fornshell, though the judge added she could post just 10 percent of the bond, or $100,000.

If Ritchie is released on bond, Peeler ordered her to be on house arrest and avoid contact with any children 18 or younger.

Her trial date was set for Sept. 26. She faces 15 years to life.

Franklin police say Ritchie admitted to dipping Austin Cooper's legs in scalding water as punishment and sending him to bed early on March 15.

Fornshell said investigators believe the boy was in the 134-degree water in a bathtub for 20 to 25 minutes. His skin was falling off and he was bleeding when he was removed.

Ritchie then dressed the child in pajamas and socks before putting him to bed at 4:30 p.m.

No one checked on the boy until 9:30 a.m. the next morning, when his dad found him, Fornshell said.

The boy's father called 911 and said he thought his son was dead.

The prosecutor said the Warren County Coroner's Office ruled the boy died from Hypovolemic shock - the loss of blood and fluid.

The boy should not have died, Fornshell said. If he had received medical treatment, he would have had a more than 95 percent survival chance.

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