An in-home daycare provider in Hastings is facing assault charges after a 4-month-old child in her care suffered serious injuries consistent with abuse.
This month, prosecutors in Dakota County charged Megan Karen Appert, 37, with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault in connection with the infant's injuries.
Authorities began investigating Appert in January after they learned of an infant in the pediatric intensive care unit with a subdural brain bleed.
According to medical reports outlined in the charging documents, the infant suffered injuries that appeared "highly suspicious of abusive head trauma".
"The type of trauma associated with subdural hemorrhages is an event that occurs when a baby is shaken or slammed," charges state, adding the retinal hemorrhages the infant sustained are seen in up to 85% of abusive head trauma cases.
Appert is accused of assaulting the infant on Jan. 12 at her home in Nininger Township, near Hastings.
That afternoon, Appert allegedly texted the child's mother and said the infant was being "fussy and inconsolable," charges state. She also asked whether or not the child had issues with his neck.
The child's mother decided to leave work early to pick him up and arrived at the daycare to find the child already in his car seat, fussy and crying.
Back home, the infant slept for a few hours before waking up and vomiting, prompting his mother to bring him to the hospital.
Two days later, investigators spoke to Appert and she denied knowing how the infant might've been injured.
She said the infant only slept for 45 minutes and started screaming, which was not his "normal cry". She also said she thought his neck appeared stiff.
During a second meeting with investigators, Appert said the infant might've been injured when she had to "wiggle" him out of a chair. She reenacted the movement by lifting a chair and shaking it with a doll inside.
"I didn't do this did I?" she said to the officer and began to cry, adding she might've been rushed with lunch. "I might have done it," she said to her husband moments later.
A search of Appert's phone revealed she'd searched "shaken baby syndrome" on Jan. 14 and visited the website for the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome on Jan. 15.
The infant required hospitalization until Jan. 21, during which time the child suffered "numerous seizures," charges state. "While medical professionals are not able to make definitive statements of prognosis this early on, it is known that infants who have head injuries because of abuse are almost universally affected for the rest of their lives."