CHARDON, Ohio — The woman who was found guilty of murder in the decades-old case known as "Geauga's Child" has been sentenced to life in prison.
"Your freedom is over," Judge David Ondrey told Gail Eastwood-Ritchey in passing down his sentence. She will be eligible for parole after 15 years served.
“Your wrongful efforts to conceal what happened in February 1993 did you buy 29 years of normal life where you got the chance to get married, raise children and do some good works. But ultimately you gained that time on the back of a helpless infant, whose body you concealed in the woods. Ironically, Geauga’s Child did more for you than you ever did for him probably," Ondrey added.
You can watch Judge Ondrey announce Gail Eastwood-Ritchey's sentence below:
Last month, a jury in Geauga County found Eastwood-Ritchey guilty of murder, but not guilty of aggravated murder for the 1993 dumping of her newborn baby boy. The infant was found in a trash bag along Sidley Road.
The case remained cold for years until Eastwood-Ritchey was arrested in June of 2019. Authorities say she was identified through familial DNA that was matched to that of “Geauga’s Child.”
Detectives produced a 1,400-member family tree through DNA submitted to the ancestry service, GED Match. Vernon Holden, formerly of Bay Village, who now lives in Omaha, Nebraska, was the one who submitted his father-in-law's DNA, which ultimately cracked the 29-year-old cold case. Forensic genealogists were able to narrow the family tree to Eastwood-Ritchey.
"It's my wife's third cousin, that's Gail Eastwood-Ritchey," said Holden in an exclusive interview with 3News Investigates reporter Lynna Lai. "There's a little remorse there that it's a family member, and a remote one at that. But if you take away that, I'm very pleased and happy that I was able to do that for the community," he said.
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