Ritter Waives Hearing in Child Endangerment Case

CLEARFIELD – An intoxicated Clearfield woman has been accused of not properly supervising and caring for her four-year-old daughter.

Kira Lee Ritter, 26, has been charged by Sgt. Daniel Podliski of the Clearfield Borough police with a felony count of endangering the welfare of children.

Ritter waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. Her bail has been set at $5,000 unsecured.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on March 13, police spoke with the grandmother of Ritter’s young daughter. She said earlier in the day, she was contacted by the child’s Pre-K teacher who asked if the child was ill because she didn’t come to school.

She contacted Ritter via text-message and Ritter claimed she’d kept her daughter home because she was sick. Due to past experiences with Ritter, she went to her apartment to verify what she’d been told.

She said Ritter is known to drink excessively, she had gone to check on her granddaughter’s welfare and could hear the television.  She also said she could hear her granddaughter talking inside but was unable to get her to answer the door.

The grandmother was concerned that Ritter was passed out from intoxication and requested officers to check on their welfare.

Officers responded to the North Third Street residence and knocked on the door several times. Podliski announced police presence and asked for Ritter. When he heard a young child’s voice, he asked them to come to the door. This went on for about 10-15 minutes, he said.

Because of prior incidents, Podliski was aware Ritter had a roommate. She was asked to respond, unlocked the backdoor and permitted police to come inside. Podliski saw the child on the chair in the living room and Ritter was on the couch.

Ritter reportedly had dilated pupils, blood-shot and glassy eyes and slurred speech. Podliski proceeded to the front door to unlock it and let then Assistant Chief Greg Neeper inside.  When asked why she didn’t answer the door, Ritter said she was asleep.

Ritter denied she’d been consuming alcohol; however, she refused to submit to a preliminary breath test. Ritter became upset while holding her daughter who began asking for her grandmother; this reportedly agitated Ritter further.

Ritter proceeded to remove her child’s hearing aids out of her anger, and police saw pieces of hair that she’d removed with the hearing aids. She laid the child down on the bed and made continued attempts to get her to say “mommy.”

Ritter allegedly slapped her daughter on her wrist when she didn’t say it. At this point, Podliski grabbed Ritter by her right arm and advised her to stand up. Ritter was subsequently detained by police who summoned Children & Youth Services.

Ritter eventually began to cooperate and agreed to submit to a breath test, which showed positive for alcohol at .304 percent. Emergency services were summoned to transport Ritter to Clearfield Penn Highlands, where she reportedly admitted to drinking too much Bacardi.

Ritter’s roommate showed police two bottles of Bacardi that were in the cabinet, and both only had about one-quarter remaining. She said Ritter is “constantly” in this state, and because of this behavior, she doesn’t stay there.

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