An Eagan day-care provider has been charged with manslaughter, child neglect and endangerment and interfering with a body after a 3-month-old child for whom she was caring last summer died of apparent asphyxiation.
Beverly Anne Greenagel, 64, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter, each a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Greenagel is also charged with one count each of child neglect, child endangerment and interference with a body or death scene, each of which has a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
The charges stem from the Aug. 18, 2011, death of Dane Joseph Abelidinger, who was three and a half months old at the time.
According to the criminal complaint, Greenagel--whose home day-care facility, Bev's Day Care, was licensed for 12 children without a second caregiver on the premises--put the child down for a nap that afternoon, apparently on top of a folded blanket on the floor in the home’s basement.
Although Greenagel’s state day-care license allowed her to care for only 12 children, authorities said there were 20 children at her home that day, including eight preschoolers, two toddlers and three infants.
Another child for whom Greenagel was caring, a 12-year-old girl, told police that she had found Dane lying face down on the blanket near several cribs. She said that when she picked him up, she found blood on the blanket.
Greenagel apparently gave several different versions of events to authorities, telling police that the child had been put to sleep in a crib at various times, and that she had discovered him unresponsive rather than the 12-year-old girl. She also told police that she never saw a blanket near him.
Greenagel told police that she usually put the child down for a nap in a room right off the kitchen, where he would doze off. However, she said children were running in and out of the house that day playing “water wars,” so she put him downstairs because she was afraid someone would step on him, according to the complaint.
Police spoke to the 12-year-old, who said that before officers arrived, Greenagel told her to get another child out of one of the cribs in the basement. Greenagel then told police that the child had been in a crib, and later whispered to the 12-year-old, “Remember what I said” about where he had been put down for a nap, the complaint charges.
The child’s mother told police that she had spoken by phone to Greenagel, who told her that Dane had been put down for a nap on his back in a crib, but when she found him he was face down in the crib, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, Greenagel later changed her story again, telling police that she had put Dane down for a nap on top of a folded blanket.
Police executed a search warrant at Greenagel’s house and found a blanket with blood on it, folded about eight times, on top of a pile of blankets in the same room where the child was found. The bloodstain pattern on the blanket resembled nostrils and a mouth, the complaint says.
Greenagel also was wearing a shirt with a stain on it that resembled blood, but she told police it was makeup, according to the complaint. A forensic analysis was performed on the blanket and the shirt and found that Dane’s DNA was present in both stains.
Dane’s cause of death was determined to be “probable positional asphyxia,” stemming from the position in which his body was found.
“It is always disturbing to see children die under any circumstance, and it appears that proper monitoring and care could have avoided this tragedy in this instance,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement Wednesday.
Greenagel’s home day care was originally licensed by the state in 1976. Authorities suspended the license immediately after Dane’s death and later revoked it, an action that Greenagel is challenging in civil court.
Greenagel, who made a first appearance on the charges Wednesday, remains in the Dakota County Jail on a $75,000 bond. An omnibus hearing in her case is scheduled July 31 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.