MANCHESTER, N.H. — The adopted daughter of a former Boston Red Sox pitcher is facing charges after her newborn baby was found unclothed, freezing, and alone in the darkness in a wooded area in New Hampshire on Sunday night, officials said.
Alexandra Eckersley, 26, was arraigned Tuesday in Hillsboro Superior Court-North on charges including endangering the welfare of a child, falsifying physical evidence, second-degree assault, and reckless conduct, according to authorities.
Officers responding to a report of a woman who had given birth to a baby in a tent in the woods near the West Side Arena in Manchester just before 1 a.m. searched the area for an hour after receiving directions from Eckersley, but their efforts proved unsuccessful, Manchester Fire Chief Ryan Cashin said.
The newborn’s mother, who Manchester Deputy Fire Chief David Flurey identified as the adopted daughter of MLB hall-of-fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, ultimately revealed the true location of the baby after allegedly lying to police.
“When they got on scene, the mother of the child gave multiple locations of where the baby could be, stated she could not remember where the baby was, and multiple different areas were searched for the child before the mother finally stated the baby was in the tent where the mother was living,” Cashin explained.
The baby was found uncovered and struggling to breathe on the floor of a tent near the Piscataquag River at Electric Street, according to the Manchester Fire Department. Efforts were then made to provide warmth and the baby was taken to an area hospital for additional treatment.
Investigators noted that it was about 18 degrees when they rescued the baby.
“As soon as the baby was picked up, members of our fire department and American Medical Response got handed the baby and immediately warmed the baby as much as they could in the back of the fire truck and drove to the hospital,” Cashin said.
Cashin noted that the swift emergency response “saved the baby’s life.”
Eckersley allegedly told EMTs that “she had no idea she was pregnant and that she felt she had to use the bathroom,” according to an affidavit. She went on to estimate giving birth to the child sometime late Christmas night.
When a detective asked her why she left the baby in the tent, Eckersley responded, “What do they tell you when a plane goes down? Save yourself first.”
A Manchester police officer also stated in the affidavit that Eckersley appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
“The mother’s responsibility is to the child and that responsibility was definitely neglected,” Cashin added. “There was no heat source in the tent whatsoever... She was not forthcoming, obviously, on the baby’s location. She was very distressed, very elusive.”
Prosecutors said they hope Eckersley complies with law enforcement moving forward.
“If she posts bail, then the State will monitor her to ensure she complies with all the conditions set by the judge,” said Assistant County Attorney Carl Olson of the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office. “If she violates any condition, then we will file a motion to revoke her bail. I hope she remains in compliance.”
Alexandra’s father, Dennis, pitched in parts of eight seasons for the Red Sox and spent a number of years in the NESN broadcast booth. He announced his retirement from broadcasting earlier this year.
An investigation remains ongoing.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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