Mug shot released of mother who confessed to dumping newborn baby in Geauga County

Gail Eastwood Ritchey

GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio -- The woman who was arrested in the death of a newborn baby found dumped in Geauga County 26 years ago will appear in court Monday.

Gail Eastwood Ritchey, 49, of Euclid, was arrested Thursday on charges of aggravated murder and murder in the case.

On March 25, 1993 police found a newborn baby boy dead in the woods.  He had been mauled by animals.

At that time, the child was sent to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office where they confirmed that he had been born alive, but could not determine how he died.

Members of the community came forward and had handmade clothing made for the child's funeral and burial.  He was referred to as "Geauga's Child" on his gravestone.  He was memorialized in the Thompson cemetery and, to this day, community members care for his grave, leaving gifts and flowers.

For 26 years authorities had been following up on all leads in the Geauga's Child case.

In September 2018, the Geauga County Sheriff's Office identified distant family members of Geauga’s Child.  Detectives compared DNA voluntarily submitted to a database to help identify the mother.  Officials started with a 14,000 person family tree and interviewed potential family members across the country and the  world before narrowing the search down and tracing the DNA to Ritchey.

Ritchey allegedly admitted that she had birthed the child, placed him in a trash bag and dumped him.

Authorities say she also admitted to a similar crime that occurred two years prior to the discovery of Geauga's Child.  Officers have searched the area she allegedly dumped that child and did not find evidence.  They are continuing their investigation.

Ritchey is currently married to the infant's father and has three adult children.

Officials say Ritchey shows absolutely no remorse and takes no ownership of the infant. For this reason, he will continue to rest in the Thompson cemetery identified as Geauga’s Child.

Continuing coverage. 

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