Caregiver enters not guilty pleas in death of toddler

September 30, 2021 GMT

WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP) — A Watertown woman has pleaded not guilty to felony charges in the death of a toddler who was in her care.

A Codington County grand jury indicted 30-year-old Amanda Walder on one count of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree manslaughter and aggravated battery.

First responders answered a call about an unconscious child at Walder’s unlicensed day care July 14. Sixteen-month-old Liam Koistinen died later that day from trauma that resulted in a brain bleed and swelling.

In an interview with law enforcement, Walder admitted the child was being difficult in laying down for a nap, the Argus Leader reported. Walder admitted being firm with the child, but also said she could have unintentionally harmed him, according to court documents.

Judge Carmen Means determined that Walder is not a threat to the community and granted her non-supervised contact with her children.

Means on Wednesday adjusted Walder’s bond to $50,000 cash from $100,000 and set a status hearing for Nov. 10. Trial is set to begin Nov. 19.