A homeless woman allegedly gave birth to a baby boy in the woods before abandoning the child on Christmas Day, claiming she had to "save herself first"
Alexandra Eckersley, the adopted child of American baseball pitcher and recent Hall of Fame inductee Dennis Eckersley, was arrested on Monday (December 26) after she left her child in the forest in New Hampshire before misleading authorities about her whereabouts.
The 26-year-old was charged with felony reckless conduct, second-degree assault/extreme indifference, endangering the welfare of a child, and falsifying physical evidence, authorities have confirmed.
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Officers from Manchester Police Department are understood to have received a call at around 12:40 from a woman, later identified as Eckersley, who had just given birth in the woods while it was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit – lower than -6C.
Eckersley reportedly told the police where to search for the child, but when they arrived they struggled to find the baby.
"After nearly an hour, the mother revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area," a press release by Manchester Police Department read.
"There, officers located the baby who was treated by EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and transported to a local hospital for treatment."
The baby was ultimately found in a tent just off a footpath and was "moving, not crying, and exposed," according to first responders.
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The tot was also reportedly not wearing any clothes, despite the freezing cold temperatures, and was taken to the nearby Catholic Medical Center for treatment.
It is understood his condition is improving.
"Had we not collectively located that little boy when we did and rendered the first aid that was rendered, I’m quite confident the child probably would have died in that tent," Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said, according to a report from CBS News.
The Red Sox hero's daughter claimed to first responders that she didn't know she was pregnant and "felt she had to use the bathroom" when the baby was born.
When police officers asked her why she abandoned her newborn baby in the tent, she allegedly said: "What do they tell you when a plane goes down? Save yourself first."
Authorities also reportedly claimed Eckersley suffers from mental illness and seemed to be under the influence of drugs when they questioned her.
Asked why she misdirected authorities to her baby, she allegedly claimed she was scared to lose her tent.
But Chief Aldenberg said there are services in place to help people like Eckersley, making the alleged crime all the more upsetting.
"If you choose to live in the woods, this city, this police department, many city departments, do outreach at these camps daily, seven days a week," he told CBS.
"So if you choose to in the woods and you refuse our outreach, you refuse services, so be it, that’s your decision as an individual.
"But you don’t get to do this to a child. I don’t care what excuses I’m undoubtedly going to hear. I’m going to hear mental health, I’m going to hear substance abuse, I’m going to hear alcohol abuse, whatever it may be and I’m always sensitive to that.
"But when it comes to this, I lose my sensitivity, my compassion for those excuses."
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