ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The woman charged in the death of a 3-month-old girl in Maplewood pleaded guilty Friday to several charges. The baby died at an unregistered, in-home daycare in 2018.
Laura Minnick, 42, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a first-degree offense of endangering the welfare of a child resulting in the child's death in a plea deal.
Minnick also got a 3-year sentence for each of the six counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child not resulting in death.
Minnick will only serve 10 years because those sentences will be served concurrently.
"These were the sentences recommended by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, as part of a plea agreement," a statement from the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said.
The parents of the child whose death Minnick caused spoke to the court.
"I am here to speak for her because she cannot," the girl's mother said. "We walk around with holes in our hearts. The pain [Minnick] caused is a lifetime sentence for all of us."
The court asked the parents if the recommended sentence for the defendant, at the low end of the sentencing range, was good enough.
"Part of us wants this to be over," the child's father said. "It's never going to be good enough. Is it good enough? No. Is it ever going to be good enough? No. But it's a point of closure."
The court is also imposing a $200 fine for operating a daycare without a license.
According to the statement from the prosecuting attorney's office, Minnick admitted that the young girl died of suffocation in her in-home daycare Nov. 16, 2018.
Firefighters found a baby girl lifeless and cool to the touch, the search warrant stated. The infant was rushed to Children's Hospital, but all efforts to save her life were unsuccessful.
"Six other children, ages 4 and under, were also scattered throughout the daycare," the statement said. "Some were in pack-n-plays covered with shelving, boxes and crates to prevent them from leaving the pack-n-plays."
At the end of the hearing Minnick, who had been free on bond, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
"As the parents of this innocent victim said so eloquently, no punishment is sufficient for causing the death of this child, but this prison sentence does offer some closure," said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. "We grieve with them and wish all the best for them and their children."