Inside the case file: How new DNA technology helped crack ‘Geauga’s Child,’ a 26-year-old cold case
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - What does it take to catch a killer?
A newspaper carrier found the body of an unidentified baby boy lying in the road, abandoned and mangled, in March 1993 in Thompson Township.
A search to find out what happened to him and his identity spanned decades.
Nearly a dozen detectives tried to track down the baby’s parents over the years.
The community, so touched by his death, honored the baby with a funeral and called him “Geauga’s Child.”
They also raised money to place a headstone in Maple Grove Cemetery.
Twenty-six years later, detectives got a big break in the case thanks to new DNA technology and old-fashioned police work.
What happened to Geauga’s Child?
Investigator Sara Goldenberg gives us a look inside the entire case file, showing us how detectives solved the case and got Gail Eastwood Ritchey to confess to his murder.
It’s a 2-part news special you’ll only see on 19 News.
WATCH EPISODE ONE HERE:
Where we left off, detectives just confronted Gail Eastwood Ritchey in her driveway, and she didn’t seem surprised to see them.
“Do you have any idea what we want to talk to you about? Because I kind of think you might,” Det. Don Seamon said.
“It’s about a baby,” Eastwood Ritchey said.
“Yeah? What about?” he replied.
“A baby that was left,” she said.
In Episode 2, detectives take Eastwood Ritchey to the sheriff’s office, where they pry a confession from her, 26 years after Geauga’s Child was found.
How will her husband react when he finds out?
And what else is Gail Eastwood Ritchey hiding?
WATCH EPISODE TWO HERE:
Eastwood Ritchey’s attorney filed an appeal on her behalf in June 2022.
The appeal challenges the venue of the trial, which took place in Geauga County, stating it should have taken place in Cuyahoga County, where Gail said the baby died.
It also challenges the prosecution’s expert witness testimony on his opinion Geauga’s Child was born alive, saying “the trial court erred when it refused to allow the defense to present evidence of dissociative disorder.”
Geauga’s Child would be 29 years old if he was alive today.
His short life touched so many people who never knew him.
Watch below for a short summary of how investigative genetic genealogy helped solve the case.
If you missed any of our episodes, you can also watch the entire series on our 19 News Roku or Amazon Fire apps.
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