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Ohio woman indicted for murder in scalding death

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Posted at 4:17 PM, Apr 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 16:47:36-04

LEBANON, Ohio -- The Franklin woman accused of killing her stepson by placing him in scalding hot water was indicted on six counts total Monday, including two murder charges.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell held a news conference Monday to discuss the charges against Ritchie. He said Ritchie "recklessly endangered" her 4-year-old stepson Austin Cooper, "resented becoming the primary caregiver" and had "a rough parenting style."

Fornshell said Ritchie placed the 4-year-old's legs in scalding water, approximately 134 degrees, for 20-25 minutes.

MORE | 4-year-old found dead after stepmom dipped his legs in scalding hot water

Fornshell said the Warren County coroner ruled Hypovolemic shock -- the loss of blood and fluid -- as Cooper's cause of death.

The prosecutor said Cooper had a "95 percent survival rate" had he been taken to a hospital. "This was completely treatable injury," Fornshell said.

According to Chief Russ Whitman, police officers and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to Boulder Drive in Franklin around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, where they found Austin in a crib. He was not breathing.

Austin's father called 911 after finding the boy in bed Wednesday morning.

“I think my son died,” the father said on the call. “He got into a hot bath last night with my wife and she thought he’d be OK.”

Ritchie admitted to placing Cooper's legs in hot water "as punishment" in a video arraignment three days after his death. She was charged with felony child endangerment as the court considered more severe charges.

Ritchie faces 15 years to life in prison for the murder charges alone.

"Anna Ritchie is pure evil," Sheri Gredig, Cooper's grandmother, said the week of his death. "She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison, if not the death penalty."

Ritchie will be arraigned Wednesday morning.

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