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Minn. woman charged in death of fiance's 4-year-old

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A Starbuck, Minn., woman has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with death of the 4-year-old son of her fiance, the Pope County Tribune reports.

The boy died in the care of Amanda Lea Peltier, 31, in February, but she was not charged with the felony in Pope County Court until last Friday, the newspaper reports.

The charge follows nearly five months of police investigation after Eric Dean died after suffering “abdominal trauma” that resulted in intestinal perforation, according to a complaint filed in court, the Pope County Tribune reports.

The boy was the son of David Dean, of Starbuck in western Minnesota, and another woman, Forum Communications reports. Peltier and Dean had lived with five other children in their Starbuck home at the time of the incident, investigators said.

Peltier told investigators a number of stories about how the boy might have injured himself, but ultimately admitted that she had been upset with the boy and "launched" him across the room. She also acknowledged that she had bitten the boy numerous times, Forum reported.

The criminal complaint notes that the boy suffered an arm fracture in July 2011 and that Peltier told medical staff the boy had fallen down stairs, Forum reports. The boy's day care provider told an investigator that she had previously noted bruises on the boy and contacted child protective services, Forum reported.

Eric was active, fun-loving and curious, according to an obituary, the Alexandria Echo Press reported. "He loved camping, dancing, fishing, swimming, hiking, animals, bugs and just being outside," the obituary says.

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