Daughter of MLB Hall of Famer abandons baby in frozen forest

Police responded to a report of a woman who had given birth to a baby in the winter-frozen woods of Manchester, New Hampshire.

 Dennis Eckersley pitching for the Boston Red Sox in 1988 (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
Dennis Eckersley pitching for the Boston Red Sox in 1988
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)

Alexandra Eckersley, the adopted daughter of Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Fame pitcher, Dennis Eckersley, was arrested on Monday by Manchester police after abandoning her newborn baby in a New Hampshire forest, according to local media reports.

"Manchester Police responded to the area of the West Side Arena for a report of a woman who had given birth to a baby in the woods in that area," the Manchester, New Hampshire police department said.

The authorities claim that, upon first questioning the 26-year-old woman, Eckersley intentionally lied about the location of the baby. As a result, the initial search for the child was unsuccessful. According to a police statement on Facebook, it wasn't until "nearly an hour [later that] the mother revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area."

Eckersley is the one who called the police.

What happened to Eckersley's baby?

Reports claim that the baby was moving when the police found them, but struggling to breathe and suffering from hypothermia. The tent the baby was found in did little to blunt the 18-degree chill (-7.77 degrees Celsius) as the propane heater they had was turned off.

 Alexandra Eckersley, 26 (credit: Manchester, NH police department) Alexandra Eckersley, 26 (credit: Manchester, NH police department)

First responders immediately began trying to help the child breathe and keep him warm. The baby was immediately rushed to the hospital.

Although the baby is recovering, he is thought to be approximately 3 months premature and weighs merely 4.4 pounds (1.99 kg), according to the Boston Herald

Apparently, the police had already been looking for Eckersley prior to the incident. The police statement states she "was arrested on an unrelated warrant out of Concord District Court for Endangering the Welfare of a Child." She was then "subsequently charged with Felony - Reckless Conduct in connection with this recent incident."

Eckersley is purportedly homeless and suffers from mental illness, according to the Boston Herald. Additionally, police believe that she may have been under the influence of drugs at the time.

According to prosecutors, Eckersley's mother told investigators that Eckersley had a standing offer to come home under the condition that she consent to be treated for drug use, NBC Boston reported.

Reactions to the police report vary. While there is universal sympathy for the child, reactions toward Eckersley herself range from compassion to condemnation. 

One commenter on the police statement on Facebook bemoans others who take a hardline stance on the incident. "Clamoring for the mother’s punishment, termination of parental rights... without even a hint of compassion or [any suggestion for how to improve] a broken system is morally indefensible and merely ensures that this sort of awful episode will occur over and over."

Others strongly disagree.

Another commenter writes that "[Eckersley] could’ve brought this baby anywhere in the city, the [p]olice station, fire stations, a store, a laundromat [or] anywhere warm and where someone could help! Stop making it everyone else’s responsibility to help this woman, she chose her path!"

The bail has been set for $3,000, the Boston Herald reported. Should she not post bail, Eckersley reportedly has the option to be released to a residential drug treatment program.