Woman facing child endangerment charges after hot water punishment kills 4-year-old

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Anna Ritchie, 25, is charged with homicide after police accused her of scalding her four-year-old stepson as a punishment.

FRANKLIN, Ohio – A woman is being charged with child endangerment after her 4-year-old stepson died following a punishment.

“There’s nothing a 4-year-old could ever do to deserve a punishment like this,” said Chief Russ Whitman.

Authorities told WLWT that Anna Ritchie decided to punish 4-year-old Austin Derreck Cooper by putting his legs in scalding water.

The next morning, Cooper was dead.

The boy’s father, Robert Ritchie III, told dispatchers he found Cooper unresponsive Wednesday morning.

“He got into a hot bath last night with my wife, and she thought he’d be OK. He said he wanted to go lay down in bed,” Ritchie said on the 911 call. “I think my son died.”

When the dispatcher asked if someone might try to resuscitate the boy, Ritchie said it was too late.

Cooper’s death was ruled a homicide, adding that he suffered third-degree burns.

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