Sioux Falls daycare provider charged with injuring 4-month-old - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Sioux Falls daycare provider charged with injuring 4-month-old

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A Sioux Falls daycare provider has been arrested after allegedly injuring a 4-month-old in her care.

According to police, Karen Ann Leraas, 59, of Sioux Falls was charged with abuse or cruelty to a minor under 7, a class 3 felony.

Leraas is expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.

Police say a 4-month-old boy was hospitalized on Aug. 7 after being injured in Lerras' in-home daycare in Sioux Falls. Doctors became suspicious of the boy's injuries and notified police. 

The baby is still in the hospital suffering from retinal hemorrhaging. The affidavit says this is typical with an injury caused by a back and forth motion.

Leraas told police the baby went limp once she was finished feeding him. The story later changed saying a two-year-old with a stocky build had shaken the baby in a swing.

Katherine Markward's 20-month-old daughter attended the alleged child abuser's daycare until the end of July. She trusted Leraas.

"It kind of makes me want to stay home with my own daughter and raise her myself but I have to work so I don't know. I guess I have no choice but to keep faith in the day cares and in everything they do," said Katherine.

Katherine saw the 59-year-old daycare provider on August 7 -- the day of the alleged abuse. Even then, something didn't seem right to Katherine.

"So I went and knocked on the door and when I asked her what happened, that's exactly what she told me -- is that she just fed him a bottle and then he stopped breathing. But when I seen the baby he was gasping for air -- like I seen his tummy go in out and so he was trying to breathe," said Katherine.

Just seconds later, EMT's and police officers arrived on the scene. What puzzled Katherine was Leraas'demeanoror.

"I would think more scared and nervous and just a wreck but not as calm as she was, though," said Katherine.

Katherine last saw her daughter's daycare provider on Sunday when she was visiting her mother a few houses down. Just one day later, Leraas would be arrested.

"She didn't say nothing. She looked like she was putting all her kids' toys away so you can only assume she knew it was coming," said Katherine.

Today, Katherine feels lucky she can go home to her happy and healthy child.

"I hear her say Karen and Karen and daycare so that part kind of hurts a little, but i'm glad she's safe though and I ain't going to deal with that," said Katherine.

The Public Information Officer said the boy is still in the hospital, but his condition is improving. 

The judged ordered Leraas not to have any contact with children under 18. Her preliminary hearing will be in 15 days. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

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