December 31, 2022

Dennis Eckersley Files Petition To Adopt Daughter's Newborn After The Baby Was Abandoned In A Tent In The Woods

After news reports last week that Alexandra Eckersley, the 26-year-old daughter of Dennis Eckersley, had been arrested for abandoning her newborn baby in the New Hampshire woods, the former Red Sox pitcher and broadcaster has filed a guardianship petition to adopt the child.

The baby "was found unclothed, freezing, and alone in the darkness in a wooded area . . . on Sunday night . . . The baby was found uncovered and struggling to breathe on the floor of a tent . . . Efforts were then made to provide warmth and the baby was taken to an area hospital for additional treatment." The baby was suffering from hypothermia.

Dennis Eckersley and his family released a lengthy statement, expressing their shock at the news. They stated Alexandra had chosen to live on the streets for the last six years and pointed out that New Hampshire's mental health system is, like the systems in so many other states, in utter shambles.

When a state deliberately slashes the number of available beds from 2,500 to fewer than 150, as New Hampshire has, and drastically cuts or eliminates other essential services (because everyone wants lower taxes, right?), it guarantees that people who desperately need help will end up in situations like this, giving birth outside at 1:00 a.m. in 15-degree weather. And we will read stories like this – with far  worse outcomes – again and again and again.

We are utterly devastated by the events that unfolded on Christmas night when our daughter Allie delivered a baby while living in a tent. It is heartbreaking that a child was born under such unthinkable conditions and in such tragic circumstances. 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.

We are extremely grateful to the first responders in Manchester, NH for saving this innocent newborn boy and to the hospital staff for everything they are doing to ensure his well-being.

Allie is our beloved daughter who we adopted at birth. Though it is painful to share, we feel it necessary to offer greater context of Allie's circumstances and background. Allie has suffered from severe mental illness her entire life. Allie was hospitalized numerous times for her illness and lived in several residential programs. We did our very best to get Allie all of the help and support humanly possible.

Once Allie became an adult there was even less we could do because she was legally free to make her own decisions as long as she was not a danger to herself or others. Under existing laws, there was simply no way to force her to receive treatment. Nonetheless, we continued to support her as best we could.

Since she was twenty, Allie chose to live on the streets in New Hampshire. As in many states, the mental health system in New Hampshire is broken. The state hospital used to have 2,500 psychiatric beds. Now there are less than 200 for more than 1.2 million citizens and the state was forced to eliminate another 48 beds this fall because of staff shortages. Without adequate inpatient beds for crisis, treatment and stabilization, a state mental system fails.

We have always offered Allie a path home but she has made other choices. We hope Allie now accepts the treatment she desperately needs for her mental health issues. We also hope that all those who have heard this tragic story withhold judgment about our daughter until all the facts come out.

We are in the process of filing a guardianship petition so that we may receive information and have decision making with respect to Allie's son.

We thank you for your support and prayers for this beautiful, innocent baby boy. We hope people understand what an agonizing situation this is and we respectfully ask for privacy. Accordingly, we will have no further comment on this matter for the time being.

Troy Lynch, WMUR:

Eckersley was arrested on Monday. She is accused of telling first responders she gave birth to a prematurely born baby boy on a soccer field. Crews searched in the wrong area for an hour before police said she informed them of the true location of the tent, officials said.

First responders raced down a footpath in the dark to reach the child, who was described by fire officials as moving, not crying, exposed and in the cold, without a blanket and next to a bed covered in blood. The temperature was around 15-18 degrees. . . .

[Alexandra Eckersley] has pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child, falsifying physical evidence and reckless conduct.

1 comment:

GK said...

Having lived in NH for close to 15 years I was a first hand witness to the government turning a blind eye to the cruel lack of basic services to provide to their residents. The government would turn blind especially to the vulnerable, the refugees and the poor. I remember the govt. removed the option of renewing driver's licenses for immigrants at a local motor vehicle office, instead centralized the service in the state capital, that could be 0-120 miles away depending on where you lived. If you had paperwork issues, and the license expired, you would be at the mercy of a friend to drive you, if you were not lucky enough live on a bus route. The state government's operating budget is in the same ballpark as the operating budget of the University of Washington, a mid tier public university system. Here is a story of the owner the largest provider of substance use disorder treatment in New Hampshire, a known political ally of the current governor, who sexually harassed women coming to get treated in his centers.

The "live free or die" motto is really a "die" motto for the vulnerable.