Stepmom Holds Down 4-Year-Old Boy in Scalding Hot Bath for Over 25 Minutes Killing Him

State   |   Conor Beck   |   Apr 22, 2016   |   5:09PM   |   Cincinnati, OH

In a truly horrific tragedy, a 4-year-old boy allegedly was killed by his stepmom on Wednesday after scalding him with hot water.

“I think my son died,” his father, Robert Ritchie III, told the dispatcher when he realized what happened to his son, according to When the dispatcher asked if he could start CPR to save his son, he sobbed, “He is stiff as a board.”

The step-mom said at the time that the 4-year-old died from a “hot bath,” but Dayton Daily News now says that she confessed to police to holding him in water for 25 minutes as a form of punishment because he did not like taking baths.

When the step-mom, Anna Ritchie, took him out of the tub pieces of his skin were in the water, according to the report. Ritchie reportedly told the child’s father he had been burned but told him not to check on him in order to not wake him. The father said he did not check on him until the next morning. When he did, he saw his son was not breathing and called 911, according to the report.

The Warren County Coroner’s Investigator Doyle Burke labeled the child’s death a homicide.

In the latest development, Anna Ritchie has pleaded not guilty to killing little Austin Cooper:

Defense attorneys have entered a not-guilty plea for an Ohio murder suspect accused of putting her 4-year-old stepson in scalding water as punishment the day before he was found dead.

The charges against 24-year-old Anna Ritchie, of Franklin, also include involuntary manslaughter.

Judge Robert Peeler granted a prosecutor’s request to increase Ritchie’s bond to $1 million Wednesday. Ritchie could post 10 percent.

Prosecutors say Ritchie put Austin Cooper, who didn’t like taking baths, into water estimated at 130 degrees for at least 20 minutes to “teach him a lesson.” Prosecutors say the boy was bleeding and had skin coming off his legs.

Authorities concluded he died of shock from blood and fluid loss resulting from his burns.

Ritchie’s trial is scheduled for late September.

Not a single person with any human dignity would call this less than horrific. But in a country where we encourage women not just to accept abortion, but to “de-stigmatize” it and worship it as a humanly good, it is becoming harder to do so with a straight face.

Pro-lifers should not just aim to point out the hypocrisy of mourning the death of an innocent child while promoting the deaths of even more innocent children. There is a war against life in this country that cannot be won by finger-wagging. Because there is a culture of death that is only getting stronger.