Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Mariel Alexandra Grimm, age 33, of Eagan, was convicted late Thursday by a Dakota County Jury of Assault in the First Degree (Great Bodily Harm) in connection with serious injuries inflicted upon a 13-month old boy she was caring for on September 22, 2016. The baby survived, but suffered severe and permanent brain damage as a result of these injuries. The jury deliberated for approximately five hours.
Backstrom stated that at approximately 1:00 p.m. on September 22, 2016, Eagan police officers and medics responded to a call at a home where a daycare provider stated a 13-month old boy in her care was unresponsive. The baby had been going to Grimm’s daycare since he was nine weeks old. At the time of this incident, Grimm was providing illegal unlicensed daycare services to two families. The baby was dropped off that morning around 7:15 a.m. and neither parent noticed anything out of the ordinary with their son that morning. Around 8:45 a.m., Grimm stated that after he awoke crying from a nap, she changed his diaper, and then he played with toys and other children, while she was home-schooling her two oldest children. At some time later that morning, Grimm placed the baby back in his pack-and-play for a second nap. At some point prior to the 12:51 p.m. 911 call, Grimm stated the baby woke up crying. As Grimm changed his diaper, she stated he became stiff and unresponsive. Grimm stated at first she tapped the sides of his face to get him to wake up, and when that didn’t work, she brought him into the bathroom and began splashing cold water on his face. When the baby remained unconscious, Grimm contacted the baby’s mother who told her to hang up and call 911. Later, Grimm mentioned that before his second nap, the baby was playing on the floor with some toys and seemed fine. Grimm confirmed she was the only adult present in the residence the entire time that morning, and none of the other children present in the home, who were age seven years and younger, appeared to have unsupervised contact with the baby.
A child abuse pediatrician who examined the baby found no medical cause to account for his severe brain injury and that this injury was consistent with abusive head trauma, which could not have been caused by a short fall or injury inflicted by another young child in the daycare. This expert also testified during the trial that the subdural hemorrhage suffered by this baby is the type of trauma associated with a violent acceleration-deceleration event, such as a high-speed motor vehicle collision or if a child is violently shaken or thrown. A neurosurgeon who performed the emergency surgery on the baby opined that the baby would have become unresponsive either immediately or shortly after this head trauma occurred on September 22, 2016.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint, which is located online at: Criminal Complaint Search. Prior news release is available at News Releases.
Backstrom commented: "We are pleased to have brought Mariel Grimm to justice for this serious crime. Our thoughts are extended to the baby’s parents and family for his ongoing care."
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Heather Pipenhagen who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the Eagan Police Department and the medical professionals who provided care to this baby.
Judge David Knutson ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set the sentencing for September 28, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in Hastings. If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.