An Ohio woman who 26 years ago allegedly dumped her newborn son in a trash bag and left him in the woods — where he was mauled to death by wild animals — was arrested this week, according to a new report.
Gail Eastwood-Ritchey, 49, was taken into custody in Cleveland Thursday morning in connection to the cold case 1993 death of the baby boy who became known as the “Geauga Child,” Cleveland.com reported. She is expected to make her first court appearance Friday morning.
After a search warrant was issued two weeks ago for Eastwood-Ritchey’s DNA, the woman confessed to authorities that she gave birth to the little boy, then stuffed him in a trash bag and deserted him in a wooded area.
It’s believed that animals partially dismembered the helpless infant and dragged him into the street, according to the report.
She’s also admitted to a similar crime — which remains under investigation — two years before the “Geauga Child” case, according to the report. The case also involves Eastwood-Ritchey giving birth to another child and stuffing it in a bag, Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildebrand told the outlet.
Eastwood-Ritchey was ultimately tracked down after investigators used recent developments in DNA technology to trace possible relatives of the little boy. During the tedious process, they created a family tree including more than 1,400 people worldwide who could be related to the child.
Then, with the help of an online database that collects voluntarily submitted DNA samples, investigators narrowed down the list, according to the report.
This marks the 51st case in the nation cracked with the help of the technology, Hildebrand added.
Eastwood-Ritchey is being held at the Geauga County Jail. She’s married to the baby’s father — with whom she has three adult children — and authorities are continuing to probe whether he was involved in any way, the outlet reported.
It’s unclear if the man, whose name was not released, also fathered the other child who Eastwood-Ritchey admitted to disposing of, according to the report.