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Stepmom of scalded Ohio boy who died pleads not guilty

March 18, 2016

FRANKLIN, Ohio (AP) — A judge has entered a not guilty plea on behalf of an Ohio woman who faces a child endangering charge after being accused of putting her 4-year-old stepson’s legs in scalding water as punishment the night before he was found dead.

The boy’s father told a 911 dispatcher the child got into a hot bath Tuesday, then went to bed and was found unresponsive Wednesday in Franklin, roughly 35 miles north of Cincinnati.

Franklin police say their investigation indicates the hot water was a punishment, and the death of Austin Derreck Cooper was ruled a homicide.

The boy’s stepmother, 25-year-old Anna Ritchie, had a video arraignment Friday in Franklin Municipal Court. She’s being held on $350,000 bond.

Her attorney declined to comment.

A preliminary hearing is set for March 25.

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