MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 45-year-old home day care provider has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a 3-month-old boy who was in her care, according to the Dakota County Attorney’s office.
Beyond the two counts of second-degree manslaughter, Rebecca Lyn Graupmann, of Farmington, was also charged with endangerment of a child, neglect of a child and interference with a death scene.
Authorities say 3-month-old Kaiden Robert Staebell was in Graupmann’s care on July 31, 2012 when officers received a report that the boy stopped breathing and was unresponsive.
When paramedics arrived, they tried to revive Staebell but were unsuccessful.
Graupmann initially told police that Staebell fell asleep in his car seat after she fed him around 1:45 p.m. or 2 p.m. She said he was “perfectly fine” when she checked on him but then around 3 p.m., she noticed his skin was blue and cold.
Graupmann later changed her story after investigators asked her about a wet spot and what appeared to be blood on a comforter, in a bedroom at the home. She then said she laid the boy down on the bed earlier to change his diaper and said he took a nap on the bed earlier that morning.
Investigators questioned her again, saying that wasn’t consistent with the wet spot found after 3 p.m. Graupmann then said, “I freaked out. I am sorry.”
Staebell’s mother told police she gave Graupmann specific instructions to have him sleep on his back and that he likes to pull blankets over his head so needs to be watched carefully during naps.
Graupmann told police she put Staebell on the bed, on his back and that his head was turned to the side when she found him not breathing. She said he was cold, his lips were blue and he had blood around his nose.
She said she often lets Staebell sleep on her couch or bed and has never had issues in the past. She also said she believed it was safe for him to sleep on his side.
The medical examiner conducted an autopsy of Staebell and determined the infant died of probable positional asphyxia.
The Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said the infant likely wouldn’t have died if proper monitoring and care had been provided.
Graupmann is expected to make her first court appearance on Wednesday, May 22.