Mother who triggered Amber Alert charged with attempted murder

Ella Abbott was taken to UMass Medical Center and is expected to be okay

Photo courtesy Massachusetts State Police

WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – The mother who triggered an Amber Alert Wednesday night after allegedly taking her daughter from her Worcester home is now being charged with attempted murder.

The Amber Alert was cancelled early Thursday morning after Massachusetts State Police found 3-year-old Ella Abbott inside a car with her mother, 38-year-old Leeann Rickheit in the woods behind a Charlton store.

Massachusetts State Police Media Relations say the car was running and the tailpipe had been stuffed with clothing, blocking the exhaust. Troopers had to smash the car’s windows to get to Abbott and Rickheit, who were both either sleeping or unconscious.

The mother and daughter were taken to separate hospitals for examination, and are expected to be okay.

State police say they searched the Charlton area for the pair after conducting numerous interviews with people who might know Rickheit’s whereabouts. They said they learned Rickheit frequented the area where her car was found and often slept in her car there.

Photo courtesy Massachusetts State Police

Rickheit has been under police guard and is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of attempted murder, assault and battery on a child, and reckless endangerment of a child.