Woman charged with reckless conduct after police say she abandoned newborn inside a tent in the woods

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!

Screenshot 2022 12 26 5.34.44 PM e1672094234396
A tent in the woods near Electric Street in Manchester where a newborn was rescued by first-responders. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER,  NH –A baby born in the woods early Monday morning and allegedly abandoned by its mother in a tent is fighting for its life at a local hospital Monday. Following an intensive search for the newborn, the mother was arrested by Manchester police, charged with reckless conduct.

According to police and fire narratives, at approximately 12:30 a.m., on December 26, 2022, Truck 6 and ALS 2 were dispatched to the area of 3 Electric St. for a pregnancy problem. Upon arrival, Truck 6 personnel encountered a woman who stated she had given birth prematurely in a wooded area near the baseball field adjacent to the West Side Arena. 

ALS2 arrived shortly thereafter and began patient care for the mother and Truck 6 personnel began a search for the newborn. Assistance was requested from the Manchester Police Department who responded to the scene.

Screenshot 2022 12 26 2.32.15 PM

Additional MFD manpower was requested and Engine 6 was dispatched at 12:59 a.m. 

Manchester Fire and Police conducted an extensive search of the area for the baby for approximately one hour. Police said the search was hampered by inconsistent information from the mother. It wasn’t until it was learned the baby was located in a tent on the West Side of the trestle that crosses the Piscataquag River at Electric Street that the baby was finally found, uncovered, on the floor of the tent.

Resuscitation efforts were initiated and the infant was brought to the nearest emergency apparatus, Engine 6, where efforts were made to provide warmth and assist with breathing. The infant was transported to the Catholic Medical Center, in Manchester, in Engine 6 with MFD and AMR personnel on board. The mother was transported in ALS2 to Elliot Hospital. 

Police, who assisted in the investigation, arrested the mother, Alexandra Eckersley, 26, who was wanted on an unrelated warrant out of Concord District Court. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and was subsequently charged with felony- reckless conduct, in connection with Monday’s incident.

As of 5 p.m. Monday police report that the baby is still at the hospital and expected to survive. “A Christmas miracle,” said police public information officer Heather Hamel.

Mayor Joyce Craig sent out a public statement about the rescue of the infant.

“I want to thank the Manchester Police and Fire Departments as well as American Medical Response (AMR) for ensuring this child was recovered safely. Without their life-saving actions, this situation could have ended much worse.

In Manchester, numerous city departments and nonprofit organizations conduct outreach activities to assist and direct people living unhoused to the Families In Transition emergency shelter and the warming station at 1269 Cafe.

Anyone struggling with mental health issues, substance use disorder, or homelessness across New Hampshire can contact 211 to connect to available services and sheltering.”

On Monday afternoon Manchester Fire Department posted a reminder on its Facebook page that all fire stations, as well as churches, police stations  and hospitals,  are recognized as “safe stations” for newborns under state statute:

All City of Manchester, NH Fire Department Fire Stations may be used as a Safe Haven in New Hampshire RSA, as long as staff is present. In addition any occupied church, occupied police station, hospital or agreed upon location with 911 Responders may be used as a Safe Haven.

A parent or parents may place a child, not more than 7 days old, into temporary care and control of the Fire Department, if they express no intent to return for the child. The parent or parents are not required to reveal any personally identifiable information.

According to a 2019 Concord Monitor story, “A former star pitcher, his daughter and the reality that homelessness can happen to anyone,” Eckersley is the adopted daughter of Dennis Eckersley, former Red Sox hall-of-famer and color commentator who has spoken publicly about his own struggles with alcohol addiction. He got sober in 1987.

As part of the Manchester Fire Department’s ongoing Community Outreach initiative, Squad One has focused its efforts on locating and helping the homeless in these isolated camp sites during the current cold weather. These efforts are made six days a week and were conducted today as well.

Screenshot 2022 12 26 2.31.36 PM
3 Electric St., Manchester, NH. Image/Google Maps


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!