Mother of newborn found mauled by animals after being abandoned in the woods in 1993 charged with murder
49-year-old Gail Eastwood-Ritchey was charged with one count of aggravated murder and one count of murder in the death of 'Geauga's Child', whose body was found mauled by animals in 1993
Back in 1993, a newborn baby boy was found mauled by animals inside a garbage bag on the side of the road -- leaving an Ohio community speechless.
Now, his mother has been charged with aggravated murder 26 years after his death, Daily Mail reports.
Gail Eastwood-Ritchey, 49, was arrested in Cleveland on Thursday in the death of her infant baby named "Geauga's Child" - after the county where he was discovered.
According to police, Eastwood-Ritchey also admitted to a similar crime two years before giving birth to Geauga's Child, wherein she disposed of the newborn baby in a similar way in the woods. The case remained cold for decades before the Geauga County Sheriff's Office had a breakthrough in September last year.
According to WJW, detectives identified distant family members of the baby using DNA evidence that had been voluntarily submitted to an online police database.
Investigators were able to trace the child's family tree with more than 1,400 people across the globe who were somehow related to him. The officers then interviewed potential family members after comparing DNA samples and narrowing their search.
Police said the procedure they adopted was similar to the one used while arresting the Golden State Killer in California in 2018. Detectives were led to Eastwood-Ritchey after tests confirmed she was the biological mother of Geauga's Child. They issued a search warrant for her DNA two weeks ago.
When apprehended, Eastwood-Ritchey confessed she had given birth to the boy, placed him inside a trash bag, and left him in the woods.
After the body was discovered on March 29, 1993, an autopsy confirmed he had been born alive. However, forensic experts are yet to determine how the child died.
It was later found that Eastwood-Ritchey is still married to the biological father of Geauga's Child and has three adult children with him.
Authorities are still investigating Eastwood-Ritchey's husband's involvement in the child's death and have not charged him as yet. Also, they are yet to release his identity.
While speaking to investigators, Eastwood-Ritchey claimed she hid her pregnancy from everyone, even her husband.
Two years before the death of Geauga's Child, she admittedly gave birth to another child and placed the newborn in a plastic bag before disposing its body in Cuyahoga County.
Police have not found any evidence to support Eastwood-Ritchey's confession that she dumped the child. That said, it is yet to be understood if her husband was the father of that child as authorities continue the probe.
According to WKYC, Eastwood-Ritchey refused to take ownership of Geauga's Child and showed "no remorse" for her actions. Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand said they will thereby leave the tot's burial site untouched. Community members made clothes for Geauga's Child and paid for a proper funeral after he was discovered. To this day, they still leave flowers and gifts in his remembrance.
"Known only as Geauga's Child. This newborn baby boy's tiny body was found on Sidley Road. March 25, 1993," the tombstone reads.
Eastwood-Ritchey is currently being held at Geauga County Jail on one count of aggravated murder and one count of murder. She will be arraigned before a judge on Friday.