Woman pleads not guilty to charges in Iowa infant’s death

February 8, 2022 GMT

PRIMGHAR, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman accused of allowing her infant daughter to be abused by the baby’s father has been sentenced to probation.

Brittanee Baker, 22, of Sheldon, pleaded guilty last week to one count of felony child endangerment, the Sioux City Journal reported. Baker received a five-year suspended prison sentence and two years’ probation.

Police have said Baker told officials that her 5-month-old daughter had been hurt in 2020 by a lamp knocked over by cats in her home. But police determined that the baby’s father, 21-year-old Lawrence Ruotolo Jr., injured the baby when she wouldn’t stop crying.

The baby was taken to a hospital on July 26, 2020, and treated for abrasions and bruising, then released back to her parents. The next day, the baby was again taken to a hospital and was not breathing and had no pulse. She died several days later. An autopsy determined she had been suffocated.

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Ruotolo was sentenced in September to five years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of child endangerment.

A third person, 50-year-old Stacie Hurlburt of Sheldon, faces trial in April on two counts of accessory after the fact. Prosecutors say she helped Baker and Ruotolo concoct the story about cats causing the child’s injuries.