A woman enraged by her stepson meted out the most heinous form of punishment on him by dipping him in scalding water. The four-year-old boy was dipped into a bathtub filled with scalding hot water by his step mother as punishment and has died afterwards, police said. Police were called on Wednesday morning to the home in Ohio by the boy's father who found that his son wasn't breathing. The boy's father told the Police that his son, Austin Derreck Cooper, had taken a bath with his wife, 25-year-old Anna Ritchie before he was put to bed.
He told the police: 'He got into a hot bath last night with my wife and she thought (unintelligible) OK. So, he said he wanted to go lay down in bed,' the father, who has not been identified, said during the 911 call. When authorities arrived, they found Austin unresponsive before transporting him to Atrium Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
During Police investigation, they found out that the stepmother had dipped him into scalding water on Tuesday night as punishment (they didn't say what he did) then put him in bed while still in pain without giving him any medical care or taking him to the hospital. His temperature must have dropped with the burns he had on his legs and he subsequently died in his sleep.
According to Fox 19, on Thursday, his death was ruled as a homicide by the Warren County Coroner's office which said the boy died after sustaining third-degree burns to his legs,
The step mother, Ritchie has since been arrested following his death and has been charged with endangering children, a second-degree felony. She was initially being held on a $100,000 bond but after the homicide report was ruled, the judge raised it on Thursday to $350,000.
The incident is still under investigation and police said further charges may be filed.
Franklin Police Chief Russ Whitman told Fox 19: 'As a father and a grandfather, first what goes through my mind is that I can't imagine what a four-year-old could have done to deserve something like that, it affects us personally. It affects the officers.'