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'Geauga's Child' deputy on woman indicted in cold case: 'I hope to make her pay'

A haunting promise to deceased infant.

CHARDON, Ohio — By all accounts Gail Eastwood-Ritchey lived a normal life in Euclid raising three children, now grown.

She is not the person that retired Sergeant Tom Dewey would have pictured to allegedly leave an infant son in a trash bag on a cold night, alone in the woods, and then leave.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Sgt. Dewey said Friday. “A lot of us thought this was, the mother was a prostitute and probably her pimp got rid of the kid for her.”

Dewey was the first investigator on scene in March 1993, when the boy’s remains were found in Geauga County along Sidley Road.

He had been mauled by animals and his umbilical cord was still attached.

For decades, his origins remained a mystery, until DNA recently linked the boy to Ritchey, 49.

On Thursday, she was arrested and booked into the Geauga County Jail.

“I was just so ecstatic, I could hardly talk,” said Dewey, who returned to the infant’s grave in Thompson where “Geauga’s Child” reads on a marker.

“I told him, ‘Little guy, we found your mother, and I hope to make her pay’” he said.

Investigators say Ritchey confessed to the crime but showed little remorse, referring to the infant only as “it.”

Charged with murder and aggravated murder, she now faces life in prison with the eligibility for parole after 15 years. Under 1993 law, she is not eligible for the death penalty.

Sgt. Dewey wants more.

“And on March 25th of every year she’s in prison, she’s put in solitary confinement with a poster on the wall of the child’s headstone,” he said.

Many are wondering why Ritchey did not leave the child at a hospital, police or fire station.

Detectives point out Ohio’s “safe haven laws” were not in effect at the time.

Ritchey will be arraigned Monday morning.

Though she allegedly confessed to disposing another child before “Geauga’s Child,” its remains were never found and Ritchey cannot be charged.

Her husband, the father of all her children, has not been charged.

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