Dennis Eckersley's family 'devastated' after daughter accused of abandoning newborn in woods
BOSTON - Red Sox legend Dennis Eckersley is speaking out after police say his daughter gave birth in the woods and then abandoned the baby in medical distress.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Eckersley family said they didn't even know their daughter Allie was pregnant and learned of the abandoned baby through news reports.
Allie Eckersley was arrested in Manchester, New Hampshire in the early morning hours Monday.
According to the police report, she told first responders she didn't know she was pregnant either, but friends said she knew and was four to five months along when this happened.
"We are utterly devastated by the events that unfolded on Christmas night when our daughter Allie delivered a baby while living in a tent," the statement from the Eckersley family reads. "It is heartbreaking that a child was born under such unthinkable conditions and in such tragic circumstances."
Dennis Eckersley and his wife adopted Allie at birth. They say she's lived on the streets and in the woods of New Hampshire for six years now after a lifetime of serious mental health issues and refusing to get treatment.
"We have always offered Allie a path home, but she has made other choices," the Eckersley family said. "We hope Allie now accepts the treatment she desperately needs for her mental health issues."
Eckersley is alleged to have given birth in a tent, then left her 4-pound premature baby on the ground. First responders claim she intentionally led them in the wrong direction for more than an hour so her tent would not get confiscated as the baby lay on the freezing ground.
New Hampshire has had a safe haven law since 2003. "We need more young spokespeople everywhere, because I don't want to see anyone caught in one of these tragedies, simply because there is a lack of awareness," said Maya Harrington of Baby Safe Haven New England.
Anyone unable to take care of a newborn baby can bring them to a safe haven no questions asked, and the state will take custody.
"If they are ever in a situation where they don't know what to do, they have these resources and places they can go, so something like what happened this week does not happen again," Harrington said.
The Eckersley family is in the process of filing for guardianship of the baby to get information and decision-making power about the baby boy's future.
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