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Daughter of Baseball Hall of Famer accused of abandoning newborn baby in woods in 15-degree cold

Alexandra Eckersley called police early Monday to say she had given birth. An hour and 13 minutes passed before she led police to the tent in the woods where the baby was.

The daughter of a Baseball Hall of Famer has been arrested after she gave birth to a baby in the woods in freezing temperatures and misled police about the abandoned infant’s whereabouts, officials said.

Alexandra Eckersley, 26, was arrested Monday and accused of abandoning her newborn infant in a tent “without heat or proper clothing in the woods” in frigid 15-degree weather, according to charging documents.

She is the daughter of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, a longtime announcer for the Boston Red Sox, a representative for the baseball player confirmed to NBC Boston.

Alexandra Eckersley called 911 just before 12:30 a.m. Monday saying she had given birth in the woods in Manchester, and police, along with fire and medical personnel, searched for the child to no avail, according to the arrest affidavit.

Given the dire circumstances and the extreme cold, a state police K-9 unit joined the search to find “what they believed would be a body at that time” the affidavit said. 

After nearly an hour, Eckersley, described as homeless, “revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area,” police said.

The baby was found "alive and moving" in a large tent made of tarps at a campsite. The child, who was found lying on the ground next to the bed behind a blanket, was hospitalized.

An hour and 13 minutes passed from the 911 call to the time the child was found, the affidavit stated.

Court documents reveal the child was likely born prematurely on Christmas Day and weighed 4.41 pounds.

A physician told police that child’s size was consistent with Eckersley’s being six months pregnant at the time of the birth, according to court documents.

Eckersley told detectives that she was in pain on Christmas Day and believed she was constipated or hemorrhaging. She told an EMT that she had “no idea” she was pregnant, the affidavit said.

However, she had told a confidant one week earlier that she was four to five months pregnant, according to the affidavit.

Asked why she walked away after having given birth, she responded "that she did not know what to do," the filing said.

A responding officer believed that she was under the influence of drugs, stating “that at times Eckersley was unsteady on her feet and that she would thrash around side to side.” 

Another officer said in the affidavit that it appeared she may have been under the influence of some form of narcotics. She admitted to that officer that she uses cocaine and marijuana but said the last time she used the substances was two days previously, according to the affidavit. 

Eckersley eventually told detectives that she had given birth and that she and her boyfriend left the tent and walked across a nearby footbridge to wait for an ambulance. She said that she tried to call 911 several times but that the calls did not go through.

Asked by an officer why she did not take the baby with her, she said: “What do they tell you when a plane goes down? Save yourself first,” according to the affidavit. 

She admitted that she and her boyfriend agreed to tell police the birth took place in a different area so police would not find and take their tents, the affidavit said. 

She was arrested Monday and charged with reckless conduct, second-degree assault by extreme indifference, falsifying physical evidence and endangering the welfare of a child, according to documents filed in Hillsborough North Superior Court

She appeared in court from her hospital bed by phone Tuesday and was ordered to be held on $3,000 bail, NBC Boston reported.

Her attorney argued in court Tuesday that Eckersley was traumatized.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all that she was disoriented, confused, possibly suffering from hypothermia, if she had just given birth outside in the elements,” Jordan Strand said, the station reported.

Eckersley’s family said in a statement Thursday that they had no prior knowledge of her pregnancy and were "utterly devastated" by the events.

The family said their adopted daughter has had mental health issues her entire life, and since 20 has chosen to live on the streets. The family said they tried to support her as best they could, and always offered her a path home.

“We thank you for your support and prayers for this beautiful, innocent baby boy. We hope people understand what an agonizing situation this is and we respectfully ask for privacy,” the family said in the statement.