Just weeks after arresting a baseball Hall of Famer’s daughter for allegedly abandoning her newborn in the freezing woods over Christmas, authorities have charged a second suspect in connection with the crime and the alleged cover-up.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Alexandra Eckersley stands accused of abandoning her newborn son in the freezing New Hampshire woods on Christmas — and then misleading authorities regarding the child’s whereabouts. Now, George Theberge, 45, has been taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with one count each of felony tampering with a witness, reckless conduct, and endangering the welfare of a child, authorities announced.
Details are sparse about Theberge’s alleged role in the crime, though a local CBS station WBZ-TV reports that police believe he was present at the baby’s birth and misled authorities about knowing where the boy was.
Police say Eckersley gave birth to her son inside of a tent in a homeless camp, then left the naked child in the chilly wilderness as temperatures dipped below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. She is the adopted daughter of first-ballot Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and Boston Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley.
Eckersley was taken into custody on Dec. 26 and charged with one count each of felony reckless conduct, second-degree assault/extreme indifference, endangering the welfare of a child, and falsifying physical evidence.
“Therberge is believed to have been with the baby’s mother, Alexandra Eckersley, when she gave birth in a tent on the West Side of Manchester,” police said in a press release announcing his arrest. “At the time of the birth the temperatures were approximately 15 degrees and the baby was left alone in the tent for more than hour before police found the child.”
Officers with the Manchester Police Department at approximately 12:40 a.m. on Dec. 26 responded to the West Side Arena regarding a 911 call from a woman — later identified as Eckersley — who had just given birth to a child in the woods in the surrounding area. Police were accompanied by firefighters and personnel with American Medical Response (AMR).
Upon arriving at the scene, first responders made contact with Eckersley, who allegedly told them where to search for the baby. However, authorities were unable to locate the child.
“After nearly an hour, the mother revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area,” police said. The baby was then located and rushed to Catholic Medical Center for treatment before being transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon via helicopter.
“Had we not collectively located that little boy when we did and rendered the first aid that was rendered, I’m quite confident the child probably would have died in that tent,” said Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said, according to a report from CBS News.
Eckersley told EMTs that she “had no idea she was pregnant and that she felt she had to use the bathroom,” Boston Fox affiliate WFXT reported.
Detectives reportedly then asked Eckersley why she decided to leave the baby in the tent.
“What do they tell you when a plane goes down? Save yourself first,” she reportedly responded.
Eckersley was released from detention last month after posting $3,000 bond. As a condition of her release, Eckersley is prohibited from having any contact with her son and is required to stay at with a parent or at a state-approved sober facility, according to a report from Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR-TV.
Eckersley’s baby was reportedly born three months premature and a spokesperson for Manchester PD reportedly told Boston NBC affiliate WBTS-CD that the child was “doing well.”
The Eckersley family issued a statement shortly after the incident, saying they were “utterly devastated by the events that unfolded on Christmas night.”
“It is heartbreaking that a child was born under such unthinkable conditions and in such tragic circumstances,” the statement continued. “We learned with everyone else from news reports what happened and are still in complete shock. We had no prior knowledge of Allie’s pregnancy.”
The family further explained that Eckersley has “suffered from mental illness her entire life” and said they did their “very best” to her “all of the help and support humanly possible.”
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