RIPLEY COUNTY — A 17-year-old has been convicted in the 2017 smothering deaths of his two siblings, prosecutors said.
Nickalas Kedrowitz was 13 years old when detectives said he told them he put a towel over 23-month-old Desiree McCartney's head and a blanket over 11-month-old Nathaniel Ritz's head a few months later to "set them free" from "hell."
A jury in Ripley County deliberated for more than six hours on Friday before delivering the guilty verdict. Kedrowitz faces 45-65 years in prison on each murder count, according to the Ripley County Prosecutor's Office.
A sentencing hearing will be held Nov. 10 in Ripley County Circuit Court.
Scripps station WCPO previously reported court documents say authorities responded to a home in Osgood for reports of a 23-month-old not breathing on May 1, 2017. First responders took the child to Margaret Mary Community Hospital; the child was later transported to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. She died May 6, 2017, according to Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel.
Less than three months later, authorities responded to the same home for an 11-month-old child who was not breathing, WCPO reported. First responders took the child to Margaret Mary Community Hospital, where the child later died. A doctor told authorities the child died of asystole, a form of cardiac arrest, court documents state.
The deaths of Ritz and McCartney were both eventually ruled by coroners to be caused by asphyxiation and the manners were ruled homicides.
Kedrowtiz told authorities he had to save his siblings from "hell and the chains of fire," according to court documents.
In a statement, Hertel said the jury had a difficult task given the nature of the case and added the case went through many stages, which included hearings to determine Kedrowitz's competency to stand trial and a waiver to adult court.
Hertel also said he hopes the Indiana Division of Child Services will take a close look at the case and the children's deaths and "reevaluate their approach/process in the future given this terrible tragedy."