Police: Boy, 4, dies after being punished in scalding water

FRANKLIN, Ohio (AP) — Police say a 4-year-old Ohio boy stopped breathing and died after his legs were put in scalding water as a punishment, and his stepmother is charged with child endangering.

His father told a 911 dispatcher the child got into a hot bath Tuesday night, then went to bed and was found unresponsive Wednesday morning at home in Franklin, roughly 35 miles north of Cincinnati.

Franklin police say their initial investigation indicated the hot water was a punishment. They announced Thursday that the death of Austin Derreck Cooper was ruled a homicide.

A statement from police Chief Russ Whitman says the boy’s stepmother, Anna Ritchie, was being held on $350,000 bond.

She had no attorney on record in Franklin Municipal Court. Her initial court appearance by video was scheduled for Friday.