A two-month-old baby has died after an accident in which the babysitter carrying him fell down the stairs, causing him to suffer multiple skull fractures and brain swelling, authorities say.
The adult, 39-year-old Stephanie Walker, has been charged in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree manslaughter and faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
According to the criminal complaint:
The foster mother of the baby's mother had agreed to watch the baby for the weekend. When the baby's mother left the Brooklyn Center home to run an errand, she left Walker in charge of watching the baby, she and Walker told police.
The foster mother told authorities "she had concerns" about leaving the baby with Walker because of Walker's "severe arthritis that limits her ability to stand and move," but that Walker "convinced her she could handle caring for the infant."
After initially denying involvement with the incident, Walker told authorities she "suffers from severe arthritis and that she would not normally hold a baby while standing due to issues with her legs."
When she went to check on her son downstairs, she carried the baby with her. As she walked down the stairs, she tripped, landing "on top of the baby at the bottom of the stairs on a concrete floor covered by linoleum."
Walker told authorities she did not call 911 immediately and did not tell anyone, including responding authorities, what happened until after the baby's death.
Brooklyn Center police first responded to the case Dec. 12, when someone called for help reporting that the baby had stopped breathing. The baby was transported to the hospital and received life-saving care, but died from injuries Dec. 14.
About 30 to 45 minutes passed between the fall and the time the baby stopped breathing, a medical investigation showed. A child abuse pediatrician told authorities that if the baby had received prompt care, he likely would have survived.