Dakota County day-care owner charged in infant's death

  • Article by: BRAD SCHRADE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2013 - 11:21 PM

Felonies alleged in case of infant who died sleeping on an adult bed.

 

A Dakota County day-care provider was charged with two felonies Tuesday in the death of a 3-month-old who died in her care last July.

The criminal complaint says Rebecca Lynn Graupmann, 45, first misled investigators, but later admitted to placing the infant to sleep on an adult bed, a violation of state safe sleep guidelines.

The infant, Kaiden Robert Staebell, died July 31 from what a medical examiner determined was probable positional asphyxia, according to the complaint.

“By these charges, we are alleging that this infant would not have died if proper monitoring and care had been provided,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release.

Graupmann’s attorney, James Blumberg, declined to comment, saying he hadn’t seen the charges yet. Backstrom said he expects Graupmann to turn herself in to authorities on Wednesday.

According to the complain, Graupmann had completed required day-care training and knew she should not have laid the infant on a bed. Graupmann admitted that it was not the first time she had placed the infant on an adult bed and said she “should have put his crib together,” according to the complaint.

State safe sleep training and guidelines require day-care operators to place babies on their backs in cribs with tightly fitting sheets to avoid suffocation hazards and to reduce the risk of an infant dying during sleep.

Kaiden’s mother had given specific directives to Graupmann that she wanted him to sleep on his back and that he needed monitoring while sleeping because he had a tendency to pull blankets over his head, according to the complaint.

In addition to the two felony manslaughter charges, Graupmann also was charged with endangerment of a child, neglect of a child and interference with a death scene — all gross misdemeanors.

Tuesday’s charges are the second criminal case Backstrom has pursued in the past year in connection with an in-home day-care death.

He charged Beverly Greenagel last July in connection with the death of Dane Ableidinger after she allegedly placed him face down on a heavy blanket on the floor for a nap. That case has not yet been resolved.

A third case is under investigation involving an infant death at an in-home day care in Hastings.

Backstrom said he expects the case to be presented to his office soon for review, but he would not comment on it.

The father of the infant in that case said last month that investigators told the family the provider placed their son to sleep on his stomach. If so, that would be a violation of safe sleep guidelines; the provider has had her license suspended.

As a response to the recent deaths, Backstrom’s office helped develop a training course for day-care providers to emphasize the need to follow safe sleep guidelines. “These are tragic situations, and we think they’re preventable situations,” Backstrom said.

 

Brad Schrade • 612-673-4777

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