Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Rebecca Lynn Graupmann, age 45 of Farmington, has been charged* with two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree (both felonies) and one count each of Endangerment of a Child, Neglect of a Child and Interference with a Death Scene (all gross misdemeanors) in connection with death of 3-month-old Kaiden Robert Staebell on July 31, 2012, while he was in Graupmann’s care at her home day care facility.
The criminal complaint filed today relates the following:
Farmington Police were dispatched to the residence of Rebecca Graupmann shortly after 3 p.m. on July 31, 2012, on a report that a 3-month-old infant boy at the home had stopped breathing and was unresponsive. Upon arrival, paramedics attempted to revive Kaiden Staebell, but were unable to do so and he was pronounced dead at 3:23 p.m.
Graupmann initially told police that Kaiden had fallen asleep in his car seat after she fed him around 1:45 to 2 p.m. She claimed he was “perfectly fine” when she checked on him at one point, but when she returned at 3 p.m., she noticed his skin was blue and cold. Graupmann later changed her story after being confronted with information obtained by investigators who found a wet spot and what appeared to be blood on a comforter located on top of a bed in an upstairs bedroom of the home. After being confronted with this information, Graupmann initially told police that she had laid Kaiden down on the bed earlier in the day to change his diaper. Later she indicated he had actually napped on this bed in the morning. After investigators told her this information did not seem consistent with the wet spot on the comforter found after 3 p.m., Graupmann said she had laid Kaiden down on the bed in the afternoon and moved him downstairs after discovering him not breathing around 3 p.m.
Graupmann stated that when she found him in the upper bedroom on the bed he was cold to the touch, his lips were blue, he had blood around his nose, and she picked him up. She stated: “I freaked out. I am sorry.” She claimed to police that she had placed Kaiden on the bed on his back and that his head was turned to the side when she found him not breathing.
Kaiden’s mother told police that she had specifically given instructions to Graupmann to have Kaiden sleep on his back. She also had given Graupmann written instructions that stated: “Kaiden likes to pull blankets over his head—keep an eye on him during naps.” Both his mother and father told police that Kaiden was not yet able to roll over or turn from his back to his side.
Graupmann told police she had completed required day care training and knew infants must be laid down for naps in a crib with a fitted sheet. She also told police that Kaiden had slept on her couch and bed several times in the past without incident and that she believed it was safe for Kaiden to sleep on his side.
The medical examiner who conducted an autopsy of Kaiden found no anatomical or congenital abnormalities and no evidence that he had sustained trauma. Further the autopsy showed no evidence that Kaiden had an infection at the time of his death and his metabolic and toxicology screens came back negative. The medical examiner determined that the bleeding from the infant’s nose and the evidence obtained during the course of this investigation led to a conclusion that Kaiden died of probable positional asphyxia.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found online at in the criminal complaint available on line at http://www.dakotacounty.us/LawJustice/CriminalComplaint. While in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at http://www.dakotacounty.us/LawJustice/Jail/Pages/inmate-search.aspx.
Backstrom commented: “By these charges, we are alleging that this infant would not have died if proper monitoring and care had been provided by Rebecca Graupmann.” Backstrom expressed his deep sympathy to the family of Kaiden Staebell for their great loss.
Graupmann is expected to make her first appearance on these charges on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.