A 33-year-old Eagan woman was charged in Dakota County District Court on Wednesday with felony first-degree assault (great bodily harm) following an incident in which a 13-month-old boy sustained abusive head trauma while in her care.
The boy survived, but remained in the hospital for several months and suffered severe and permanent brain damage, according to the Dakota County Attorney’s office.
According to the criminal complaint, Eagan police officers and medics responded to a call of an unresponsive baby. They found an unconscious boy with a pulse and shallow breathing at Mariel Alexandra Grim’s child care business Sept. 22.
Grimm said she was changing the baby’s diaper when he became stiff and unresponsive. She tried to get him to wake up by splashing water on his face, but he remained unconscious.
The baby was transferred to Gillette Children’s Hospital where he was immediately diagnosed with a massive subdural hematoma.
A medical examiner found the baby to have a severe brain injury that was consistent with abusive head trauma.
It could not have been caused by a short fall or an injury caused by another young child, according to the examiner.
It was the type of trauma associated with a violent motion such as a high-speed vehicle collision or if a child is violently shaken or thrown.
“Abusive head trauma to infants and young children is a serious problem that often results in permanent brain injury or death,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. “Our sympathy is extended to the baby’s parents and family.”
The baby had been going to Grimm’s child care since he was 9-months old. When the baby had been dropped off in the morning, neither parent said they had noticed anything out of the ordinary.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.