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Day care lady who left baby alone in car seat in dark room and soon died is guilty of involuntary manslaughter


This news story was published on January 28, 2016.
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PELLA, IOWA – An Iowa woman who ran an in-home daycare and left a baby girl alone in a dark room, improperly strapped in car seat, is guilty of involuntary manslaughter after the child died from asphyxia.

After concluding a seven month investigation, law enforcement authorities have placed criminal charges against a Pella woman in the death of 17-month-old Amelia Smith of Pella. Little Amelia had been left in the care of a day care provider, 32-year-old daycare provider Valerie Wackerly. The facts of the case are as follows:

On June 10, 2015, the Pella Police Department received a 911 call of an unresponsive child at an in-home day care. Pella police officers arrived on scene and immediately determined that Amelia Smith was unresponsive, and that CPR was in progress. Smith was transported to Pella Regional Health Center by Pella Community Ambulance, then transferred by Life Flight to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, IA. On June 12, 2015, Smith passed away at Blank Children’s Hospital, and her death was later attributed to mechanical / positional asphyxia by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Criminal investigators from the Pella Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) determined that Wackerly had placed the victim improperly in a car seat in a darkened room, and left her unsupervised for a nap. Wackerly left the residence and left the children in the care of an adult who was not a certified day care provider. Upon Wackerly’s return at 4:09 pm she checked on the napping children and found Amelia Smith to be unresponsive. The day care, located in the 1300 block of East 7th Street, Pella, is registered with the Iowa Department of Human Services. After consultation with the Marion County Attorney’s Office, it was determined that criminal charges against Ms. Wackerly were appropriate in this case.

Valerie Lynn Wackily was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter Iowa Code 707.5 (1) (a) Class D Felony Penalty — Confinement of no more than five (5) years Fine of at least $750 and no more than $7,500.

On January 28, 2016, Wackerly entered a plea of guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter in Marion County Court.

The victim’s family will provide comments to the media on or after Wackerly’s April 5, 2016, sentencing.

Valerie Wackerly

Valerie Wackerly

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5 Responses to Day care lady who left baby alone in car seat in dark room and soon died is guilty of involuntary manslaughter

  1. Avatar

    Goat & Emblem Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2016 at 2:14 am

    She will suffer for the rest of her life now.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Why would you put a 17 month old child in a car seat for a nap???? There are these wonderful things called cribs, pack n plays, or even a nap mat for the child to lay on!!!! That’s just wrong!!!

  3. Avatar

    the real fred Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Headline makes it sound like the babysitter died.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

      We don’t have a journalism or any language major running this site.

  4. Avatar

    sherryl Reply Report comment

    January 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    why would she have a 17 month old in a car seat—it is old enough to sleep elsewhere!