Robert Lee Ritchie: Father of scalded child indicted on homicide charge
Robert Lee Ritchie: Father of scalded child indicted on homicide charge

Robert Lee Ritchie: Father of scalded child indicted on homicide charge

A Franklin husband and wife are now both in the same Warren County Jail after the March death of a 4-year-old boy who died after being scalded in a bathtub full of water.

A Warren County grand jury returned two felony charges against Robert L. Ritchie, 31, on Monday for involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and child endangering, a third-degree felony, for allegedly failing to obtain medical treatment for his son, Austin Cooper.

Ritchie was at work at the time of the March 15 incident. Prosecutors say Ritchie knew Cooper had been burned, but never went into the boy’s bedroom to check on his injuries.

Cooper was found unresponsive the next morning.

“He did not lay eyes on his child for 15 hours and did not seek medical treatment for the child. And as a result of that decision, the child is dead,” said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell .

Fornshell said Cooper would likely be alive had he received medical treatment within four to eight hours. The Warren County Coroner’s Office ruled the boy died from Hypovolemic shock – the loss of blood and fluid.

Franklin police say Ritchie’s wife, Anna, admitted to dipping Cooper’s legs in scalding water as punishment before dressing him in pajamas and socks then sending him to bed at 4:30 p.m.

Fornshell said investigators believe the boy was in the 134-degree water in a bathtub for 20 to 25 minutes. His skin was falling off and he was bleeding when he was removed.

In an interview with WDTN, Robert claimed his son was already in bed when he got home from work on March 15. He said he found Austin unresponsive the next morning and called 911.

The prosecutor’s office waited to send Ritchie’s case to a grand jury as to not “taint” jury members with evidence from Anna Ritchie’s indictment.

Anna’s trial date was set for Sept. 26. She faces 15 years to life in prison.


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