Ex-day care provider gets jail in baby death

Published 10:22 am Friday, March 21, 2014

HASTINGS — A former Eagan home day care provider was sentenced Thursday to 45 days in jail for placing a 3-month-old baby in an unsafe sleep position that contributed to his death.

Prosecutors said Beverly Greenagel, 66, then tried to cover up her mistakes after the infant, Dane Ableidinger, died. She pleaded guilty in December to second-degree manslaughter in a plea agreement.

“If you had done what you were supposed to do, we wouldn’t be here,” Dakota County Judge Michael Mayer told Greenagel before sentencing her. “You need to understand: Dane died because of your actions.”

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The baby died on Aug. 18, 2011, after being placed face down on a fluffy blanket — a violation of safe-sleep standards. Greenagel was watching 21 children at the time, more than allowed under state supervision requirements. The county medical examiner later ruled the boy died of positional asphyxia.

Prosecutors and the boy’s parents both said they hope Greenagel’s punishment will send a message to other child care providers that they need to follow the rules regarding safe sleeping and supervision to keep infants from harm. The death was one of 11 in child care that year in Minnesota that prompted media attention and tougher regulations and state safety laws. Since that time, deaths have declined to a low of three last year.

Even after pleading guilty to the felony, Greenagel expressed reservations in a pre-sentencing interview about whether she was responsible.