Charges: Mpls. daycare provider shook baby, caused fatal brain damage

- A Minneapolis daycare provider is charged with murder for allegedly shaking an 11-month-old child in her care and causing fatal brain injuries. 

On July 12, 2017 at 10:55 a.m., police were called to the in-home daycare in south Minneapolis. When they arrived, officers found Sylwia Pawlek-Reynolds, 42, in the backyard performing chest compressions on an 11-month-old child, who was lying on the patio table. The child was unresponsive, not moving and had vomit around his mouth. 

Paramedics determined the child was in cardiac arrest. He was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where it was determined he was brain dead. He was pronounced dead the following day. 

The victim and his six-year-old sister were both among the children in Pawlek-Reynolds’ care. July 12 was the third day the victim had been at the daycare. His parents confirmed to police he had been crying and had trouble leaving them when they dropped him off that morning. 

“[The victim’s] parents observed that the defendant was overwhelmed and they were contemplating moving their children to a different care provider,” according to the charges. 

Pawlek-Reynolds told police the child had been crying loudly, so she put him in a high chair and gave him a piece of a Rice Krispies bar and some milk. She then went to the backyard to check on the other children and when she returned he was limp, with his eyes partially closed and his tongue sticking out. 

An autopsy confirmed the victim died of cardiac arrest due to severe brain swelling. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner and another doctor both determined the traumatic brain injuries to his brain, eyes and neck were consistent with shaking. 

Pawlak-Reynolds is charged with two counts of second-degree murder. She is not in custody, but the Hennepin County Attorney’s office has requested a warrant for her arrest. 

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