Apple Valley, Minn. (WCCO) – Two Minnesotans, including a licensed day care provider, are now charged in Dakota County in separate cases involving the deaths of sleeping babies.
One involved a home daycare in Apple Valley on July 29, 2014.
Police say Janet Marie Kartheiser called for help after she discovered a 3-month-old boy wasn’t moving in his crib.
Kartheiser had operated a licensed daycare in her Apple Valley home. She told investigators that between five and 20 minutes after she placed the infant on his side for a nap, she found him face down and not breathing.
The 63-year-old Kartheiser is now charged with second-degree manslaughter. According to the complaint, she told investigators she knew he “should not be lying face down.” She described her actions as “unforgivable.”
The death was ruled “accidental” due to “positional asphyxia” and a “compromised sleeping environment.”
She was also charged with hiding evidence. During the investigation, police learned Kartheiser hid two blankets and a quilt behind a trash can in the furnace room.
Daycare laws require parents to sign off on the bedding items when they are used to swaddle babies at naptime.
Police say Kartheiser did not have the required paperwork.
The defendant is the mother of actor Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell in the hit television series Mad Men.
We attempted to talk with Janet Kartheiser about the charges, but neither she nor her family were available.
Prosecutors also charged a man named Paul Sandell in a separate baby’s death. That 3-month-old died in Hastings last April.
Prosecutors say the boy suffocated after Sandell fell asleep with him on his bed.
They say the baby’s mother discovered him face down on the bed with a comforter over his head.
Doctors say babies should always sleep on their backs. You can learn more about how to create a safe sleeping environment for infants here.