An Eagan woman faces felony charges in the death last August of an infant at her in-home day care.
Beverly Anne Greenagel, 64, was charged July 10 with two counts of second-degree manslaughter, a felony, and one count each of endangerment of a child, neglect of a child and interference with a death scene, all gross misdemeanors.
According to the criminal complaint, Greenagel called police Aug. 18, 2011, after finding 3-month-old Dane Joseph Ableidinger unconscious and not breathing in her home.
When police and paramedics arrived, they attempted to resuscitate the boy but soon determined he was dead.
Greenagel first told police she laid the child down in a crib for a nap at around 3:30 p.m. that day, but she allegedly changed her story several times, according to the complaint.
In one version, she said there was a blanket in the crib with the boy and in another she said there wasn’t a blanket. In other stories, Greenagel allegedly told police she laid Ableidinger on a blanket on the floor. Her stories were also allegedly inconsistent on whether she laid the boy on his stomach or his back.
State child care licensing regulations require providers to lay infants on their backs in a crib that is free of loose blankets and pillows to prevent incidences of sudden infant death syndrome.
Police spoke with a 12-year-old girl at the home who said Greenagel placed the boy on a blanket on the floor and that Greenagel told her to tell police he was in a crib.
In the bedroom where Ableidinger was found, officers discovered a blanket that had a blood stain pattern that resembled nostrils and a mouth.
They also noticed similar stains on a shirt Greenagel wore that day.
Both items were analyzed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which determined the stains were Ableidinger’s blood.
Greenagel allegedly admitted to moving the blanket from a crib where police initially saw it and placing it in a closet.
Greenagel has operated a licensed in-home day care since 1976 and was licensed to care for 12 children without assistance, but the facility had 20 children at the time, according to the complaint.
Her child care license was suspended immediately after Ableidinger’s death and later revoked by Dakota County, which Greenagel is challenging in civil court.
Greenagel had been advised several times by county licensing workers to change her sleeping arrangements for children in her care, according to court records.
In 1999, she was advised in a letter from Dakota County that infants must sleep in a crib or a wooden portacrib, and in 2002 she was reminded by county workers to remove pillows from infant cribs.
A county worker also reported in 2007 that Greenagel placed an infant on the floor for a nap, which violates licensing requirements.
The Dakota County medical examiner sent a sample of Ableidinger’s blood for genetic testing to the Minnesota Genetic Arrhythmia Center to determine whether his death was caused by a genetic disease. The tests were negative for any illness or disease, according to the complaint.
Given the absence of disease and the fact the child was placed face down on a blanket, the medical examiner concluded that Ableidinger’s death was “probable positional asphyxia.”
Greenagel made her first court appearance on July 11, and bail of $75,000 was set by Dakota County District Judge Jerome Abrams.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 30 in Hastings.
If convicted, Greenagel could face up to 10 years in prison for each manslaughter count, and up to a year in prison for each gross misdemeanor count.