Red Sox legend and MLB Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and his family asked the public for understanding Thursday after his 26-year-old daughter allegedly gave birth on Christmas inside a tent in the New Hampshire woods and then misled emergency responders looking for the baby.
Alexandra Eckersley “is our beloved daughter who we adopted at birth,” the family said in a statement. “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.”
The family is “in the process of filing a guardianship petition so that we may receive information and have decision making with respect to Allie’s son,” according to the statement.
Alexandra allegedly misled officials for 73 minutes about where she had given birth in the woods behind the West Side Ice Arena in Manchester, a delay that led to her being charged with reckless conduct, endangering a child, and two other charges, the Globe reported.
She had called 911 at 12:06 a.m. Monday, according to authorities, and then waited for an ambulance to arrive. She was arraigned Tuesday from her hospital bed, and not-guilty pleas were entered on her behalf. Bail was set at $3,000 cash, and she was ordered to stay away from her infant son. If she finds a place in a sober house, she will not have to post cash bail, the Globe reported.
Alexandra was also taken into custody on an outstanding warrant from Concord, N.H., District Court charging her with endangering the welfare of a child. A Manchester police spokeswoman said Thursday that the infant was doing well as of Tuesday, when the department received its most recent update on his condition.
Dennis Eckersley, who retired from NESN this fall after 20 seasons of color commentary on the Red Sox that followed a 24-year career as a player, and his family say they are “devastated by the events that unfolded on Christmas night.”
“It is heartbreaking that a child was born under such unthinkable conditions and in such tragic circumstances,” the family said. “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.”
The family thanked emergency responders and hospital staff who treated the infant, who was born prematurely. They said that once Alexandra became a legal adult, they were limited in their ability to intervene in her actions.
“Under existing laws, there was simply no way to force her to receive treatment,” they said. “Nonetheless, we continued to support her as best we could.
“Since she was twenty, Allie chose to live on the streets in New Hampshire,” the family’s statement continued. “As in many states, the mental health system in New Hampshire is broken. … Without adequate inpatient beds for crisis, treatment and stabilization, a state mental health system fails.”
The family said they hope Alexandra will accept mental health treatment now and that the public will withhold judgment for her until they know her full story.