Charges filed against Pella day care provider in infant’s death

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PELLA, Iowa — The Pella Police Department has charged a Pella woman in the death of infant Amelia Smith.

Valerie Lynn Wackerly, 32, pled guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter, a class D felony. Police Says smith was a 17 month old child left in the care of Wackerly.

Last June, the Pella Police Department received a 911 call for an unresponsive child at an in-home day care. Officers and EMTs arrived on scene and immediately determined Amelia Smith was unresponsive, and CPR was in progress.

The infant was transported to Pella Regional Health Center by Pella Community Ambulance, then transferred by Life Flight to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

On June 12, 2015, Smith passed away at Blank Children’s Hospital, and her death was later attributed to mechanical/positional asphyxia by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Criminal investigators from the Pella Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) determined that Wackerly had placed the victim improperly in a car seat in a darkened room, and left her unsupervised for a nap.

Wackerly left the residence and left the children in the care of an adult who was not a certified day care provider. Upon Wackerly’s return at 4:09 pm, she checked on the napping children and found Amelia Smith unresponsive.

The day care, located in the 1300 block of East 7th Street, Pella, is registered with the Iowa Department of Human Services.

After consultation with the Marion County Attorney’s Office, Pella Police determined that criminal charges against Wackerly were appropriate.

The victim’s family requests that their privacy be respected until the date of sentencing on April 5.

(courtesy KNIA/KRLS)

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