An unlicensed day care provider in North St. Paul was charged with second-degree manslaughter after a 6-month-old girl died of strangulation while in her care.
Amy Jo Englebretson, 43, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of felony second-degree manslaughter.
The infant was found unresponsive in Englebretson’s home in the 2300 block of South Avenue about 11:04 a.m. on Aug. 8 and died about 45 minutes later at Children’s Hospital. She had become entangled in the straps of her car seat, authorities allege.
“I didn’t do it right,” Englebretson allegedly told police of her placement of the child in the car seat. “[The strap] was too loose.”
According to the criminal complaint: A distraught Englebretson called 911 and let police into her home. She identified herself as the child’s day care provider. She told authorities that she placed the infant in a car seat for a nap. She placed the car seat on a bed in the bedroom.
Englebretson said she went into the bedroom once and the child was still asleep. She said she went into the room a second time and saw that the child had “scooted” down in the car seat, causing the strap to wrap around her neck. The child “got strangled up,” she allegedly told police.
Englebretson moved the child to the living room and performed CPR before calling 911.
When police arrived, she had nine other children in her care: two 6-year-olds, three 3-year-olds, a 22-month-old, a 17-month-old and two 16-month olds. Englebretson was the only caregiver in the home.
Police at the scene noted that the car seat’s warning label cautioned users to never place it on beds, sofas or soft surfaces.
“The label also has a ‘Strangulation’ warning on it that reads, ‘Child can strangle in loose restraint straps. Always use harness. Never leave child in carrier when straps are loose or undone,’ ” the complaint said.
The Ramsey County medical examiner determined that the child died of asphyxia due to compression of the neck and cardiac arrest. Strap marks were also observed on her body.
Englebretson allegedly told police that she had been operating her day care for less than a year and wasn’t licensed but was on a waitlist in Ramsey County. Authorities determined that she had not applied for a child care license and that there was no waitlist.
Englebretson was licensed between 2000 to 2015 in Polk and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin, where she was cited six times for violating the number of children allowed in her care (no more than six) and their age restrictions.
Parents who brought their children to Englebretson in Minnesota told police that she informed them she would have four to six children at her day care.