Minneapolis

Murder charges: Stearns County mom silenced disabled child’s medical device alarm

2020-09-24 10:20:24 –

A 35-year-old central Minnesota woman is charged with murder after allegedly silencing the alarm on an oxygen monitoring device and allowing her severely disabled child to die.

Elise C. Nelson, of Paynesville, was charged Wednesday in Stearns County District Court with second-degree intentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the child’s death in June.

The child, whose gender and age were not disclosed in the charges, has “significant medical issues” including chronic respiratory failure and severe developmental delay from a loss of oxygen at birth, the criminal complaint read.

Autopsy results from the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, while attributing the child’s death to complications during birth, also said Nelson “deprived care resulting in death,” the charges read.

Nelson was booked into jail Wednesday and is being held without bail. Court records list no attorney for her.

According to the criminal complaint:

With her husband on a fishing trip on June 18 and her other child staying at a family friend’s home, Nelson was left alone with her disabled child.

Twice in the morning of June 19 a warning alarm sounded from the child’s pulse oximeter, a device that clips to a finger and assesses breathing by measuring the oxygen saturation of arterial blood and a person’s pulse rate.

Nelson silenced the alarm both times and 11 hours later turned off the device, meaning that “nothing monitored the child’s oxygen saturation levels or pulse rates.” The charges also noted that the device retains data of its operational history.

Over the weekend, Nelson silenced the alarm while adjusting the settings for when it would sound. Eventually, the device was taken off the child for good.

Nelson called 911 on June 21, and officers arrived to find the child on the living room floor. The child was taken to Paynesville Hospital and declared dead within the hour.

The mother told law enforcement that she heard the device alarm go off and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation for an hour before calling the authorities. However, officers at the scene said Nelson did not look as if she exerted herself for an hour while performing CPR.

 

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