South Dakota Day Care Shut Down for Death Investigation

July 7, 2011

An in-home day care in Sioux Falls where a 4-month-old child died last week has been shut down while authorities investigate, though they say the death does not appear suspicious.

Connie Edwards’ registration to operate the day care – which has been issued four citations this year – has been suspended during the investigation, which authorities say could take months.

“What we are doing additionally is doing some random surveillance of that home to make sure that we don’t see evidence of a day care operating there,” City Health Director Jill Franken told the Argus Leader newspaper.

Edwards did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment on Wednesday.

Police say it could be a while before they know exactly how Meredith Ulmer died.

“The cause of death will be medical. The manner of death has not yet been determined,” police spokesman Sam Clemens said. “(Investigators) are still waiting on some test results, and it may take several months.”

Edwards’ suspension can last up to 90 days, Franken said. City officials must then decide whether to allow the day care to reopen or revoke its registration.

The city cited Edwards twice earlier this year for having too many children at her day care. She was cited for that again last week, and also cited for having unregistered helpers. Franken said two teenage girls were caring for the children in the home when police arrived last Thursday.

The baby’s mother, Megan, has said she would have pulled her children out of Edwards’ day care had she been aware of the previous citations. Franken acknowledged that information posted on city websites is lacking.

“This is an evolving process we’re working with,” she said. “We wanted to get started with something, so we’re working with what’s available to us on the city’s website and the systems we have in place … but we’ll continually work through this so we can get more information out, and to make sure it is more comprehensive as we move forward on this.”

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