Day care worker charged with murder after losing temper at baby
A woman who was allegedly running an unlicensed daycare in her home has been charged with the murder of a five-month-old boy, after he was fatally injured when she admitted losing her temper with him.
Patricia Ann Wick, 48, from the city of Carrington, in the US state of North Dakota, was arrested four months after the child was found unresponsive in her home.
She reportedly told police she had been frustrated and may have been "a bit rough" when she put little Reed Nelson down.
Wick additionally received charges for murder, child abuse and operating a daycare without a licence on Monday, January 30.
Reports claimed that police were called to Wick's home concerning the unresponsive child at around 2pm on September 26.
But after failing to revive him through CPR, they immediately airlifted him to the Sanford Medical Center in the city of Fargo.
Reed died after having suffered a traumatic head injury and a cardiac arrest two days later.
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Subsequent autopsy results revealed that the infant had died due to complications of blunt-force head and neck trauma, while his manner of death was determined to be a homicide.
When questioned, Wick said that she had just fed the baby and laid him down, but he was reportedly awake and crying 15 minutes later.
After he woke up another child with his cries, the woman reportedly put Reed on a blanket in the living room.
Wick claimed she heard the infant coughing and vomiting, before she called his mother and the emergency crews.
But she later allegedly confessed that she probably put the five-month-old boy down too hard and was not gentle with him because she was frustrated with him during the day.
The 48-year-old woman also told the detectives that another child, aged 6, had suffered a broken arm while under her care, when he reportedly fell off a swing in her garden a couple of weeks earlier.
But the child's mother later told the investigators that Wick did not contact her or her husband regarding the injury and told them that he was faking it.
She reportedly never asked them about his well-being afterwards, but police photos taken in Wick's home show that the swing in her garden was not as secured to the ground as she claimed.
During an initial hearing via Zoom on Monday, Wick was charged with murder, a Class AA felony; abuse of a child, a Class B felony; and operating a family child care home without a licence, a Class B misdemeanour.
Her bail was set at USD$500,000 (A$722,372). She is currently being held in the Stutsman County Correctional Center in the city of Jamestown while the investigation continues.
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