The family of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley has released a statement sharing that they are "utterly devastated" after their daughter, Alexandra Eckersley, was accused of abandoning her newborn baby in the woods in New Hampshire. According to a report by USA Today, Eckersley had given birth on Christmas night while living in a tent in the Manchester, N.H. woods.
According to police, Eckersley had called 911 shortly after midnight on Dec. 26 stating that she had given birth and did not remember where her child may be. After first being led to a nearby baseball field, emergency personnel were tasked with searching the woods for the child in 15 degree temperatures.
The baby, a boy weighing nearly four and a half pounds and believed to have been born approximately six months into pregnancy, was eventually found inside a tent at a campsite. Eckersley told police that she had used cocaine within the previous two days while also claiming that she had no idea she was pregnant, believing she was constipated or hemorrhaging when she went into pain on Christmas Day.
"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," read the family statement. "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."
The Eckersley family explained that Alexandra, who was adopted at birth, has suffered from severe mental illness throughout her life and has been hospitalized numerous times while also living in several residential programs. While the family says that they tried to support Alexandra the "best we could," there was no way to force her to receive treatment.
"We have always offered Allie a path home but she has made other choices," the family said. "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."
Eckersley, 26, faces charges of second-degree assault, falsifying physical evidence, reckless conduct and endangering the welfare of a child. The Eckersley family says they are in the process of filing a guardianship petition to have decision-making authority for the newborn.