Mom Accused of Trying to Kill 3-Year-Old Daughter Held on $500K Bail

Police say the mother and child were found sleeping or unconscious inside a running car with the tailpipe stuffed with clothing

A Massachusetts woman was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail Thursday after she allegedly tried to kill herself and her 3-year-old daughter.

Lee-Ann Rickheit, 38, was arraigned in Dudley District Court on charges of attempted murder, assault and battery on a child and reckless endangerment of a child.

Rickheit, who had allegedly made threats to harm her daughter Ella Abbott, was found with her child inside a running car with a tailpipe that had been stuffed with clothing, blocking the exhaust, around 2:45 a.m. Thursday in a wooded area in Charlton, about four hours after state police had activated an Amber Alert.

After seeing the two of them either sleeping or unconscious in the car, a state police trooper smashed a window, allowing troopers to remove Ella and Rickheit from the car.

Police said they had developed a lead indicating that Rickheit frequently visited and often slept in her car in the wooded area where she and her daughter were found.

Both were taken to nearby hospitals for examination. Abbott was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, while Rickheit was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester under police guard. 

Both Rickheit and her daughter were found with elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their systems.

The child is doing well, but it is unknown if she is still at the hospital or has been released.

Prosecutors said Thursday that Rickheit had left a suicide note and texted her mother that she was suicidal. She had also done internet searches about carbon monoxide poisoning.

It wasn't immediately clear if Rickheit had an attorney.

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