A man who allegedly urged Alexandra Eckersley to abandon her newborn baby in subfreezing weather in a Manchester, N.H., homeless encampment last month was arrested Wednesday on charges of tampering with a witness, child endangerment, and reckless conduct, police said.
George Theberge, 45, who was identified in court papers as Eckersley’s boyfriend, was taken into custody on warrants obtained by Manchester police. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
Police did not detail the actions Theberge allegedly took on Dec. 26. In police reports filed in connection with Eckersley’s prosecution, he allegedly told her to mislead police about the location of their tent in the woods, which contributed to a 73-minute delay before the newborn was found and given medical care. The temperature was 15 degrees Fahrenheit, according to police.
Eckersley, 26, has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and other charges. She was ordered not to have any contact with her son and was released on bail on Dec. 31, according to the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections.
According to a police affidavit, she called 911 shortly after midnight on Dec. 26 and reported she had just given birth.
“Eckersley stated that the child cried immediately after birth; however it was for less than a minute,” police wrote. “She stated that her boyfriend ‘George’ told her that the child did not have a pulse and that she did not know how to determine if the child had a pulse or not.”
When police, firefighters, and EMTs arrived at the homeless camp, she allegedly lied to police about the location of the tent where she had given birth and lived with Theberge, records show.
“Eckersley stated that while she was on the bridge waiting for the ambulance, George went back to the tent to retrieve his tablet and to turn off the heat,” police wrote. The couple had a propane heater.
The couple also allegedly talked about how police would probably break apart their encampment and take their tent, leaving them without any shelter during winter.
“During this portion of the interview Eckersley was stating that it is very hard to survive if they had lost their tent because of the cold temperatures during the winter in Manchester. Eckersley stated that this is the reason they turned off the propane heat,” police wrote. “Eckersley admitted that she had a conversation with George where they agreed to tell the police that the incident occurred at the soccer fields so that the police would not find and take their tents.”
Eckersley is the daughter of Dennis Eckersley, a Hall of Fame baseball player and former Red Sox pitcher and broadcaster, and his former wife, Nancy. After Alexandra Eckersley’s arrest, the family issued a statement saying they were seeking guardianship of the newborn.
“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 said. “Under existing laws, there was simply no way to force her to receive treatment. Nonetheless, we continued to support her as best we could.”
John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.