Mankato mother charged after injuries leave 16-month-old on life support with no brain activity

Chelsea Rae Olinger has been charged with first-degree assault. ( Blue Earth County Jail )

A Mankato, Minnesota mother has been charged after she allegedly seriously injured her 16-month-old child, who is now on life support, according to a Blue Earth County criminal complaint.

Chelsea Rae Olinger, 27, has been charged with first-degree assault, causing great bodily harm. She faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $30,000 fine.

According to the charges, Monday morning, Olinger brought her child to the hospital, claiming the toddler had fallen down a flight of stairs. A hospital employee notified police due to suspicious circumstances.

Medical records shows when the child arrived at the hospital, it was unresponsive and not breathing, the complaint states. Doctors learned the 16-month-old had suffered bleeding on the brain, compression fractures on two vertebrae, fractures on seven ribs and laceration of the liver. A doctor told police the injuries were not consistent with falling down the stairs.

In a police interview, Olinger said the child's crying woke her up at 4 a.m. She said she grabbed the toddler and tried to put it down about four or five times. During this, she said the child's head flopped back and forth. Olinger later told police she didn't realize she was hurting the child when she was putting it in the crib.

Olinger also admitted to police that she covered the child's mouth with her hand in an attempt to quiet the child. She continued to claim she found the child at the bottom of the stairs later that morning.

According to the criminal complaint, the child does not have brain activity and is currently on life support.