MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 16-month-old baby is on life support in southern Minnesota and the child’s mother is accused of abuse.
Twenty-seven-year-old Chelsea Olinger, of Mankato, is charged with one count of first-degree assault, court documents filed this week in Blue Earth County show.
According to a criminal complaint, Olinger brought the child to a hospital Monday morning, saying that she found the baby at the bottom of the stairs. Hospital staff notified police, saying the child’s injuries were suspicious.
Doctors told investigators that the child’s injuries were not consistent will falling down the stairs but were consistent with non-accidental trauma.
The child had arrived at the hospital unresponsive, with numerous bruises, rib fractures and a brain injury. Tests later showed the child has no brain activity.
Per the complaint, Olinger changed her story about what had happened in interviews with investigators.
Initially, she said that she woke up to the baby crying and brought the child into her bed and fell asleep. Later, she admitted to putting her hand over the child’s mouth and left out the part about bringing the baby into her bed. She still maintained that she found the child at the bottom of the stairs.
Using a doll, she also demonstrated to investigators how she put the child in the crib several times, saying that she didn’t realize she was hurting the child.
If convicted of the assault charge, Olinger faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.