New Hampshire police arrested a homeless woman Monday for allegedly misleading police about the location of a baby boy she had given birth to and left in the woods, where temperatures were around 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alexandra Eckersley, 26, who reportedly suffers from mental illness, eventually led police to a tent in the woods, and first responders reportedly found the baby “moving, not crying, and exposed.” The baby boy was reportedly naked and had no blankets.
“After nearly an hour, the mother revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area,” a press release from Manchester Police stated. “There, officers located the baby who was treated by EMTs and transported to a local hospital for treatment.”
Eckersley told police she did not know that she was pregnant before giving birth, and when asked why she left the baby in the tent, reportedly replied, “What do they tell you when a plane goes down? Save yourself first.”
Authorities initially charged Eckersley with felony reckless conduct on Monday following the incident, but prosecutors added endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree assault with extreme indifference, and falsifying physical evidence to the initial charge during her arraignment Tuesday via phone at the hospital where she is being treated.
Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said that he believed the baby would have died in the tent if authorities had not found him when they did. Aldenberg expressed frustration that Eckersley did not accept the many forms of assistance that the city offers for the homeless and others in need.
If you choose to live in the woods, this city, this police department, many city departments, do outreach at these camps daily, seven days a week. So if you choose to in the woods and you refuse our outreach, you refuse services, so be it, that’s your decision as an individual. … But you don’t get to do this to a child. I don’t care what excuses I’m undoubtedly going to hear. I’m going to hear mental health, I’m going to hear substance abuse, I’m going to hear alcohol abuse, whatever it may be and I’m always sensitive to that. But when it comes to this, I lose my sensitivity, my compassion for those excuses.
The police chief said Eckersley’s family had offered to help her, but she refused. Her mother reportedly said that “she feels the safest place for Eckersley to be is incarcerated.”
This is not the first time Eckersley has been in trouble with the law where a child was involved. She was reportedly arrested in 2021 for being “high on methamphetamine with an infant in the car,” News 9 reported. Other charges on the 26-year-old’s record include shoplifting, trespassing, and numerous drug possession charges.
Catholic Medical Center took the child for treatment, and his condition is reportedly “improving.”
“Eckersley is the daughter of MLB Hall of Famer and former Boston Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. Prosecutors said Alexandra Eckersley’s mother, Nancy, told them that she and Dennis have offered their daughter a home and treatment, but she has always refused it,” WCVB reported.