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Daycare Provider Charged In Baby’s Death

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(credit: Chisago County)

(credit: Chisago County)

(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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Update: On June 14, 2012, Salli Deen Schultz was found not guilty on all counts.

CENTER CITY, Minn. (WCCO) — A daycare provider has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of an 8-month-old child last January.

According to the criminal complaint, filed in Chisago County, 42-year-old Salli Deen Schultz, of Lindstrom, had also been charged with operating a nonresidential daycare without a license.

Schultz turned herself into authorities early Friday morning.

On January 23, Brooke Elizabeth Kowarsch died from a head injury police say occurred on January 19 while Kowarsch was in Schultz’s care.

Six months since the death of their daughter and the pain is still very raw for the Kowarsch family.

“We ask you respect our privacy, as we grieve the death of our daughter,” said Kurt Kowarsch, Brooke’s father.

According to the criminal complaint, Schultz called Chicago County 911 that afternoon, saying that she thought the child was acting lethargic and that she didn’t feel comfortable watching her in her condition.

“My God, it’s scaring the **** out of me,” she told responders.

The child was taken to the hospital and her parents were notified. Paramedics noted that the child was squinting her left eye. At the hospital, she had multiple seizures. Doctors determined she had sustained hemorrhages and was bleeding on the brain.

The child’s mother, who was on a vacation at the time of the incident, returned home and the family made the decision to remove Brooke Kowarsch from life support. She died on January 23.

Doctors diagnosed her with a severe head injury stating, “Trauma is far and away the most likely diagnosis. Given the lack of trauma history and her young age, abuse is the most likely cause.”

A second doctor issued a report that stated, “The injury occurred around 2:30-3:00 p.m.”

Brooke Kowarsch was in Schultz’s care during that time.

“I’m sure the doctor is wrong, because my client didn’t do this,” said Earl Gray, Schultz’s defense attorney.

In the criminal complaint, Schultz told investigators Brooke was taking a nap around 2:45 p.m. She told investigators, “She heard a banging sound which she assumed was Brooke’s foot hitting the crib.”

“She’s not the type who would do something like this. She’s the one who called 911,” said Gray.

No adults were in the home at the time. Schultz did not have a license to provide home childcare. According to the criminal complaint, she received two warnings in 2006 that she was not licensed.

“We have faith in the criminal justice system, faith, she’ll receive the justice she deserves,” said Kurt Kowarsch.

Schultz appeared in court Friday and was released after posting $100,000 bail. Gray said his client intends to plead not guilty.

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