Day care operator charged in infant’s death after she left 9 kids unsupervised, police say

Police arrest day care operator after infant dies
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 10:31 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/Gray News) - Police arrested a Missouri child care operator following the death of an infant that investigators said was in her care.

KY3 reports 47-year-old Deborah Lundstrom of Springfield operated the home daycare that officers responded to on March 2 after receiving a report of an 8-month-old boy not breathing.

Officers performed CPR on the infant until first responders arrived. The child later died at a Springfield hospital.

Investigators say Lundstrom left her home for approximately 12 minutes to go to a high school, leaving all nine children unsupervised. Investigators say she placed the infant, along with several other children, into car seats before she left.

Lundstrom told investigators her 18-year-old daughter was home during that time. However, the daughter told officers she had gone to a park with her boyfriend and was not home.

Police said Deborah Lundstrom, 47, operated the home day care.
Police said Deborah Lundstrom, 47, operated the home day care.(KY3)

The Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy. The autopsy states the cause of death as asphyxiation, with the doctor saying the car seat chest clip may have prevented the baby boy from breathing. According to the doctor who performed the autopsy, it did not appear the baby boy died of an assault.

In Missouri, a child care facility can be run without a license. However, it can only care for six children or less. Police said Lundstrom was caring for nine children at her day care.

Neighbor Dirk Rowe knew Lundstrom ran a day care but says he never saw kids outside the house.

“I think she may have mentioned it,” Rowe said. “I’ve spoken to her maybe two or three times over the two years we’ve lived here, so I think she’s mentioned it before.”

Rowe said he didn’t expect anything like this to happen two doors down from him.

“It’s always shocking when something like this happens,” Rowe explained. “It’s a quiet neighborhood. We enjoy being here. We enjoy the neighbors. I’m surprised this would happen here.”

Lundstrom faces charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death, eight counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and operating a child care facility without a license.

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