Prosecutors charged a 49-year-old Eagan woman this week with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2012 death of her 2-month-old grandson.
Johanna Mercedes Limpert Beeler received a summons to appear in Dakota County District Court on April 6.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom called the delay in criminal charges unusual, but said multiple prosecutors handled the case because of turnover within his office and police were asked to further investigate the case.
According to charges filed Tuesday, Beeler’s daughter called police the afternoon of July 7, 2012, when she discovered her son, Brayden Michael Beeler, unresponsive in his grandmother’s arms.
Brayden’s mother told investigators she had gone to a party with an acquaintance the night before, leaving Brayden with Beeler.
At the scene, police observed Beeler to be distraught, crying and showing signs of impairment: bloodshot, watery eyes, a short attention span and falling asleep while talking to officers.
In addition to at least three vodka-cranberry cocktails with her daughter at an Applebee’s restaurant the night before Brayden’s death, Beeler told police she purchased a 375-millileter bottle of vodka, which she poured into water bottles and drank from 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.
She told police that around 9 a.m., Brayden appeared fine and was not hungry when she tried to feed him. Beeler said she soon fell asleep with Brayden by her side in bed, according to the charges. When she awoke that afternoon, she said she found Brayden unresponsive and blood trickled from his nose when she picked him up. An autopsy later that day did not reveal a cause of death, but did not rule out suffocation.
Beeler’s daughter told police that her mother has a long history of alcoholism and mental health issues and is unstable. A little more than an hour after police arrived, Beeler provided a preliminary breath test sample of 0.187 and was taken to the hospital for a suspected overdose. Her blood alcohol level was later recorded as 0.16 at 7:34 p.m.
Beeler’s criminal history includes a 2011 conviction for driving while impaired and a subsequent conviction for driving after her license was revoked. Beeler also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft in 2013.
If convicted of the second-degree manslaughter charge, Beeler faces up to 10 years in prison.