Court hearing postponed for mother accused of leaving ‘Geauga’s Child’ to die in woods 26 years ago

Mother accused of leaving ‘Geauga’s Child’ to die in woods 26 years ago leaves courthouse today

GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The mother accused of killing “Geauga’s Child” was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon, but all proceedings happened behind closed doors.

A criminal pretrial hearing for Gail Eastwood-Ritchey at Geauga County Court of Common Pleas was slated for 3 p.m., but she was seen walking to her car after the scheduled appearance.

19 News reporter Hannah Catlett confronted her on the way out.

Court hearing postponed for mother accused of abandoning ‘Geauga’s Child’ to die in woods

Investigators said Eastwood-Ritchey confessed to giving birth to the baby boy, putting him in a plastic bag, and abandoning him in a wooded area in Thompson Township in March 1993.

“To this day, even though she admitted her involvement, she shows absolutely no remorse and takes no ownership of baby doe,” Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand said.

The baby was found dead with its umbilical cord still attached by two newspaper delivery drivers in the middle of Sidley Road. The sheriff’s office said the baby was missing an arm and a leg, believed to have been mauled by animals and dragged into the road before the discovery.

Residents of Geauga County held a funeral for Geauga’s Child in 1993. To this day, visitors leave gifts and flowers at his gravestone.

Gravestone for "Geauga's Child"
Gravestone for "Geauga's Child" (Source: Geauga County Sheriff's Office)

DNA evidence linked Eastwood-Ritchey, who most recently resided in Euclid, to the cold case murder of the baby boy.

Investigators say Eastwood-Ritchey is currently married to the father of “Geauga’s Child” and now has three adult children. She hid the pregnancy from her family and the child’s father, according to the Geauga County sheriff, which is why nobody else is facing charges in connection to the murder.

Despite her confession to detectives, Eastwood-Ritchey pleaded not guilty during her initial arraignment. She posted bail and was released on the condition that she wears GPS monitoring.

Eastwood-Ritchey also admitted to detectives that she committed a similar crime two years prior to the birth of Geauga’s Child in Cuyahoga County. That case is still under investigation.

Court records show that Eastwood-Ritchey’s trial by jury is scheduled to begin Oct. 15.

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