Lee-Ann Rickheit, 38, abducted Ella Abbott, 3, Massachusetts cops said Wednesday in Worcester, Mass
The pair were allegedly found Thursday morning in Lee-Ann’s car in some woods
Tailpipe had reportedly been stuffed with clothing, and they were unconscious
Troopers broke a window and pulled them out; they are both unharmed
Rickheit is charged with murder, assault and battery on a child, and reckless endangerment of a child
She pled not guilty on Thursday, saying she cracked a window to breathe
Her attorney said that she did not think the child would die because she cracked open one of the car’s windows.
It’s unclear what triggered the apparently kidnapping attempts
Lee-Ann Rickheit [left] kidnapped daughter Ella Abbott [right, on Wednesday, kicking off an Amber Alert. Cops found them early Thursday morning in woodland
A Massachusetts woman is facing attempted murder charges after apparently kidnapping her daughter and attempting to kill both the girl and herself.
State police say that Lee-Ann Rickheit, 38, sparked an Amber Alert when she disappeared with Ella Abbott, three, from Worcester on Wednesday.
The pair were found early next morning, sitting in Rickheit’s car, the tailpipe of which had been stuffed with clothing in an apparent attempt to fill the car with dangerous fumes, CBS Boston reported.
Mother and daughter were in Rickheit’s car, which had its exhaust stuffed with clothes. Rickheit (center, in court Thursday) is charged with attempted murder, among other counts
An unidentified relative of Rickheit’s had kicked off the search when they called police on Wednesday to say they’d had a troubling call from the mother.
In the call Rickheit had threatened to harm herself and the child, who was taken at 7:35pm that day from a home on Greenwood Street, police alleged.
A search was conducted for the missing mom’s 2007 Hyundai Sonata, which was later spotted on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton.
The car was then found by troopers in a wooded area around 15 miles from the town at around 3:30am on Thursday.
Troopers said that both Rickheit and Ella appeared to be either sleeping or unconscious when they were found.
The tailpipe of the car had been stuffed with clothing, according to officials.
One of the troopers smashed a window, gained entry to the vehicle and took the pair to the hospital.
Both Rickheit and Ella were reported to be conscious and responsive afterwards. It’s unclear what caused Rickheit’s actions.
Rickheit spent Wednesday night in St Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester under police guard.
It’s not clear what provoked the alleged kidnapping. Rickheit had previously posted on Facebook about having been in violent relationships, but not with Ella’s father
Rickheit pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her defense said she thought Ella would be OK if she cracked a window. Ella is now in the care of the state
Ella was taken to UMass Medical Center for an exam, and was doing well, according to police. She is now in the care of the Department of Children and Families.
Rickheit was arraigned Thursday and charged with attempted murder, assault and battery on a child, and reckless endangerment of a child.
Her defender said that she did not think the child would die because she cracked open one of the car’s windows.
She pleaded not guilty to all counts and was placed held in jail on $500,000 bail.
Her next scheduled court appearance is a probable cause hearing is on September 18.
Posts and comments made by Rickheit on her Facebook page suggest that she also has a young son, and that she had been in a difficult previous relationship.
In regards to a comment written on her Facebook page on May, she commented: ‘He is p***ed because I’m actually happy with a man who doesn’t beat me and abuse me and emotionally torture me and my daughter.
‘He is writing this stupid s**t because he is jealous I got a real man, my daughter’s real father…’
She added that the man who commented on her Facebook page ‘is a mental idiot and abused my 3-year-old verbally and beat me up while my daughter was in my arms. He’s scum and can’t stand the fact that I left him for a real man.’