LEBANON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Warren County judge set bail Wednesday for the father of a boy who died after being burned in hot water.
Judge Peeler said bond at $250,000 and ordered Robert Ritchie to on an electronic monitoring bracelet at home. Ritchie will be allowed to go to work but is not allowed to have any contact with children.
Ritchie was arrested on Monday after a grand jury indicted him in connection with his son, Austin Cooper’s death. Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said, “He never laid eyes on that child for 15 hours until he found him dead the next morning in his crib.”
His wife, Anna Ritchie, is accused of putting her stepson in scalding hot water. She pleaded not guilty to six charges including murder, endangering children, felonious assault, and involuntary manslaughter.
Anna Ritchie is accused of putting Austin in water, about 130 degrees, for roughly 20 minutes as punishment because he did not like to take baths.
An autopsy revealed the boy died of hypovolemic shock after bleeding through the night. Records showed his skin was falling off his legs when his stepmother put him to bed.
The Warren County Prosecutor said there was evidence the father knew about the burns. Had he checked on his son, Austin may still be alive.
“Knowing that the child had been burnt to the extent there was injuries and bleeding and not laying eyes on that child for 15 hours straight, I don’t know any parent who would do that,” said Fornshell.