Crime, Law and Justice

Bloomington child care provider charged in death of a toddler

A Bloomington child care provider has been charged with two counts of manslaughter related to the death of a toddler.

The one-year-old liked to pack his mouth with food when eating and his unlicensed childcare provider was aware of this, according to a criminal complaint filed in Minnesota District Court.

On Nov. 28, 2023, the provider, Kristina Maria Elder, noticed the child had stopped breathing and his lips turned blue. Elder performed “a finger sweep and pulled out some food but felt she was pushing additional food further down victim’s throat so she did not want to do any more,” she told police, according to a statement of probable cause.

After the finger sweep, Elder said the toddler’s eyes opened and color returned to his lips.

According to the criminal complaint, she didn't call 911 or the child's parents. The toddler laid back down and she walked away from him “to do other things in the home.”

She later returned and noticed the “victim was not moving and appeared lifeless. The defendant also noted that victim’s lips had again turned blue. At this time, the defendant finally called 911, per her report,” according to the court document.

Bloomington police arrived at her residence and found paramedics attending to the victim. His lips were blue, and he was struggling to breath. He was transported to a hospital and later died.

Elder, age 50, was charged Thursday with two counts of second-degree manslaughter.

She operated an unlicensed day care from her Bloomington home and the one-year-old boy was under her care. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be anoxic brain injury caused by resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest. That was caused by asphyxia due to too much food in his mouth.

Elder is not in custody. She’ll make her first court appearance on June 20.