Step Mom Charged in 4-Year-Old Boy’s Death After Hot Water Punishment

An Ohio woman who allegedly punished her 4-year-old step son with scalding hot water was charged with a felony count of child endangerment after the boy was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead.

The Warren County Coroner's office ruled 4-year-old Austin Cooper's death a homicide, and further charges could be coming, police in Franklin, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati, said.

Image: Anna Ritchie
Booking photo of Anna Ritchie. Franklin Police

The boy's step mother, Anna Ritchie, 25, was arrested Wednesday and still in jail early Friday on $350,000 bond, police said.

Ritchie performed the hot water punishment Tuesday evening and then put Cooper to bed early, police said. Police and EMS responded to a call Wednesday morning of a child who was not breathing. Cooper was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Ritchie was scheduled to be arraigned at noon Friday.