A Champlin foster care provider has been charged with third-degree assault after investigators accused her of causing several broken bones to an infant in her care.
Melissa Anne Sondrol, 39, brought the 7-week-old baby boy to a hospital on Oct. 5 because he wasn’t moving his right leg normally. An x-ray showed the boy had a fracture in his right femur, as well as a fracture in his foot. An X-ray then revealed a fracture in his left tibia, and ten fractures on both sides of his ribs.
A geneticist reviewed the baby’s X-rays and medical history and found no evidence of a bone disease that would have contributed to the injuries. Medical personnel specializing in child abuse determined that the femur fracture had occurred two to three days before Sondrol brought the boy to the hospital, while the foot and tibia fractures happened 10 to 12 days prior. The rib injuries “may be older still,” according to the criminal charge, but they “likely occurred after the victim was placed in foster care with [Sondrol].”
The boy had been in Sondrol’s care since Aug. 30, and before being placed with her had an X-ray that showed no evidence of injury, the complaint alleges.
When Champlin police and child protection investigators interviewed the family, Sondrol described the boy as “an incredibly fussy, fussy baby,” according to the complaint.
She said he wasn’t moving his right leg two days before taking him to the doctor.
Investigators later interviewed Sondrol’s 10- and 13-year-old children, who said they overheard their mother tell their father she heard a “pop” when she was bicycling the infant’s legs to help relieve gas, the complaint said.
Investigators then went back to Sondrol and asked about what her children reported. She said she remembered hearing a pop, and acknowledged not telling police about it during the first interview, the charges allege.
“That’s what prompted me to take him in,” she told police.
She denied knowing how the boy suffered the other fractures.
If convicted, the Hennepin County attorney’s office is seeking a higher sentence on the grounds that the boy was “treated with particular cruelty and [Sondrol] was in a position of trust.
Sondrol has not responded to a request for comment.