Who Is Gail Eastwood-Ritchey? New Details On Mother Just Arrested For 1993 Death Of Infant Son Thanks To DNA Evidence

Photo: Facebook
Who is Gail Eastwood-Ritchey? New Details On Mother Just Arrested For 1993 Death Of Infant Son Thanks To DNA Evidence

Investigators in Ohio have solved a 26-year-old cold case known as the "Geauga's Child" case. The body of an unidentified baby boy was found on the side of a rural road in Geauga County, Ohio in 1993. The baby came to be known as "Geauga's Child." On June 6th, 49-year-old Gail Eastwood-Ritchey was identified as the baby's mother through DNA and arrested for his murder. She was taken into custody for one count of aggravated murder and one count of murder. A resident of Euclid, Ohio, she admitted to giving birth to the baby, putting him in a garbage bag and abandoning him in the woods. When the infant's remains were found, they had been dismembered by animals. 

The case ripped at the hearts of residents of Geauga County, who began calling him "Geauga's Child." Members of the community paid for the infant's funeral and burial expenses. To this day, people leave flowers and gifts at his grave site. His tombstone reads: "Geauga’s Child lies here now in safety — just too late. Too late to save his life. Too late to make things right. But not too late to teach us all to love and cherish life.” 

Who is Gail Ritchey-Eastwood?

1. Discovery of the body

The body of the deceased baby boy was discovered on March 25, 1993 by two young women delivering newspapers. Cheryl Jenkins and her friend Wendy Sweeney were delivering newspapers when they stopped to inspect what they thought was a doll on the side of the road. They were horrified when they realized that it was actually a baby. They called the police and more than 30 members of the Geauga County Major Crime Unit were on the scene looking for clues in the snow covered woods. The body of the infant was sent to the coroner's office where it was determined that the baby was between one and three days old. Part of the umbilical cord was still attached. It is unknown if the baby was born dead, died soon after he was born or if he was abandoned while living.

2. The DNA trail

In September 2018, the decision to open the cold case of "Geauga's Child" and try to solve it using DNA was made. Investigators worked with a DNA lab in Virginia to establish a family tree of 1,400 possible relatives. The first trace took investigators all the way back to the baby's great-great grandparents who were born in the early 1800s. Detectives reached out to certain people in that family tree and asked them to voluntarily provide DNA samples or make their samples available from genealogy websites. Investigators were able to trace the baby's genealogy through this DNA and pinpoint Gail Eastwood-Ritchey as the mother.

Facebook

RELATED:  Who Killed Kevin Martin? New Details Of Unsolved Murder Of Nova Scotia 13-Year-Old

3. She was tipped off

Family members who the police had approached about giving DNA samples tipped Gail Eastwood-Ritchey off. They told her that investigators were getting close to identifying her. In a June 6th press conference Detective Donald Seamon said: “We had contacted family members (about submitting DNA) who had previously alerted her to the fact that we were getting close. So (Eastwood-Ritchey) was waiting for us, if you will.” Detective Donald Seamon explained during a June 6 press conference.

4. The baby's father

Gail Eastwood-Ritchey's husband was identified as the baby's father through DNA. He has not been charged at this time. Police revealed that she hid the 1993 pregnancy from her husband. 

Facebook

RELATED: Who Killed Betty Jean Belt? New Details On 1975 Unsolved Murder Of New Jersey Teen

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

5. This isn't the only baby she abandoned

Gail Eastwood-Ritchey admitted to detectives that she had abandoned another baby in 1991 in the city of Euclid in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. It is unknown if her husband was also the father of this child. Detectives said she gave specific information as to where she dumped the first baby. So far, no remains have been found. Eastwood-Ritchey has not shown any remorse for either of the babies she abandoned and left to die.

6. She is married with three adult children

Eastwood-Ritchey married her husband in 1994. Neighbors and friends were shocked to hear about her arrest. They knew her as a happily married woman who goes to church and leads a respectable life. 

Facebook

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.