$250k bond for dad in son's scalding case

Father speaks out after young son's death
Robert Ritchie and Austin Cooper (Photo courtesy WDTN)
Robert Ritchie and Austin Cooper (Photo courtesy WDTN)

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - A Franklin father charged in connection with his son's death faced a judge Wednesday morning.

Bail for Robert Ritchie, 31, was set at $250,000. If released, the judge ordered Ritchie to wear an ankle monitor and stay away from his children.

Prosecutors claim Ritchie knew his son had been dipped in scalding bath water, but did nothing about the child's injuries for hours.

He is charged with child endangering and involuntary manslaughter.

After the arraignment, Ritchie's attorney called the bond reasonable and said his client has no criminal history.

Ritchie's wife, Anna, is accused of putting her step son's legs in hot water as a punishment. She was charged with murder shortly after 4-year-old Austin Cooper's death. Her trial date is Sept. 26. If convicted, she faces 15 years to life in prison.

Ritchie was at work at the time of the March 15 incident. Prosecutors say Ritchie knew Cooper had been burned, but never went into the boy's bedroom to check on his injuries.

Cooper was found unresponsive the next morning.

"He did not lay eyes on his child for 15 hours and did not seek medical treatment for the child. And as a result of that decision, the child is dead," said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

The boy would likely be alive had he received medical treatment within four to eight hours, Fornshell said.

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

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