MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri day care operator is facing criminal charges after an infant died and toddlers were allegedly found restrained at her facility last year.
Laura Minnick, 39, of Maplewood, was charged Friday with seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Police allege that officers went to the home day care center on Nov. 16 and found a 3-month-old girl in cardiac arrest with “compression marks” on her face. She was pronounced dead at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Investigators said they found children in the living room when they arrived. The operator initially told officers there was one other child, on the second floor. Officers found that child in a playpen with a blanket on top, with heavy plastic shelving over the blanket to “keep the child from escaping,” court documents allege.
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Police then found a male toddler in a playpen in a closet; a female toddler in a playpen with a blanket and shelving on top in the basement; and a male toddler in a closed, dark room with shelving and crates on top, according to court documents.
Minnick does not have a listed phone number and does not yet have an attorney. She has previously said she put shelving on the playpens to keep the children from climbing out when they awoke from naps, and to keep them from waking the other children.
Court documents said officers smelled alcohol on the owner’s breath and found an empty wine box in the trash.
Minnick told the Post-Dispatch in December that the infant had just started flipping onto her stomach the day of her death. She said she tried to perform CPR.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com