Man accused of suffocating fussing toddler with a pillow

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2010 - 8:44 PM

Dennis James Angell

Photo: Sherburne County Sheriff's Office,

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A 24-year-old man took the Winnie the Pooh pillow of his girlfriend's fussing 16-month-old boy and suffocated him with it, according to charges filed Wednesday in Sherburne County.

Dennis James Angell, who lived in the boy's home in Santiago Township with the child's mother and other family members, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death at the home on Oct. 31. Angell was jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.

"Angell initially told investigators that he was the last person to be with the child and that the child started choking while in his care," said County Sheriff Joel Brott. "Eventually, Angell admitted to investigators that he placed a pillow on the child's face."

According to the complaint:

Angell said he was trying to get the boy to sleep but became angry when he fussed. He said he pressed the pillow down with both hands against the child's face for about 40 seconds in an effort to muffle his screams. He said he let up when the boy stopped moving.

Deputies arrived at the home about 9:30 p.m. and found a woman and a Becker Fire and Rescue crew member trying to revive the boy. The child was taken to St. Cloud Hospital and declared dead.

A search of the home turned up the pillow, bloodied, under the child's bed. The boy bled from the nose before resuscitation efforts were started, adults in the home said.


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