Farmington woman to be sentenced for manslaughter

A 46-year-old Farmington woman pleaded guilty on Thursday, Feb. 13, to felony second-degree manslaughter involving endangerment of a child in connection with the death of 3-month-old Kaiden Robert Staebell on July 31, 2012, while he was in her care at her home day care facility in Farmington.

Rebecca Lynn Graupmann was originally charged May 22, 2013, with another second-degree manslaughter count and three gross misdemeanors that will be dismissed at sentencing, which is slated for April 15.

“We are pleased the defendant accepted responsibility for her actions that caused the death of a child in her care,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a release. “Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Kaiden Staebell for their great loss.”

Graupmann was licensed to care for 12 children. The child care was shut down following the death after her day care license was suspended.

An autopsy ruled Staebell’s death was accidental by “probable positional asphyxiation,” according to the complaint.

Graupmann allegedly told police initially that Staebell fell asleep in a car seat, but a detective noticed a wet spot with what appeared to be blood in another bed in the house.

When confronted with what the detective found, Graupmann told police she had put Staebell in her daughter’s adult bed for a nap on top of a comforter. She said later she saw the child on his side in the bed and left him in that position.

Staebell’s parents’ verbal and written instructions were to always lay him on his back, the complaint said. Graupmann also referenced a crib that she should have put together for Staebell’s nap times.

Graupmann said she found the child “cold to the touch, his lips were blue, and he had blood around his nose when she picked him up.”

She told police she “should not have laid him in the bed” multiple times.

Backstrom thanked the Farmington Police Department for their thorough investigation in this case.