The Minnesota Department of Human Services temporarily suspended the license of a day care Friday, Nov. 15, following the death of an infant under its care early last week.
The licensing action means the provider cannot continue operations while the investigation is underway.
“On November 12, 2019, Crow Wing County Social Services received a report regarding your program. The report alleged an incident involving a serious injury to a child in your care,” the DHS order stated. “ … Based on these findings, DHS cannot ensure the health and safety of the children served by your program at this time. DHS has determined that the health, safety, and rights of children in your care are in imminent risk of harm. Therefore, DHS is suspending your license to provide family child care.”
The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office responded at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 to a report of an infant found unresponsive at the family child care, operating within a residence on the 6500 block of Weatherbee Road in Crow Wing Township.
Deputies, along with other emergency responders, answered the call and assisted with lifesaving measures. The infant was pronounced dead at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd a short time later, the sheriff’s office reported in a news release.
The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office along with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the cause of death and more information is expected when autopsy results are available.
A GoFundMe online fundraiser, organized by family members of the infant’s parents, identified the boy as 9-month-old Zander Kenneth Miller, son of Ande and Allan Miller and brother of Hazel Miller of Crosby. The description of the fundraiser, established to cover funeral expenses for the family, noted Zander was found unresponsive while sleeping in a crib. As of Monday, Nov. 18, $5,210 had been raised, with family noting any funds raised above those needed to cover funeral expenses would go to the family to assist in the days and weeks ahead.
“As we approach saying our final goodbyes to Zander next week, and as Ande & Allan navigate the next days, weeks and months and years of life, please know that any donations after the initial goal has been met will be used to allow the Miller family to be able to take time to grieve and share time with their daughter Hazel,” a comment on the fundraiser stated.
An obituary from Nelson-Doran Funeral Home stated a service for Zander is planned for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the funeral home.
“He always had a big smile on his face, he loved everybody and loved flirting with the ladies,” the obituary stated. “He enjoyed sticking his tongue out, taking baths, eating, splashing in the dogs’ water dish, baby shark, and recently, stealing toys back from his big sister.”
The day care at which Zander was found unresponsive is known as Country Bumpkin Daycare, according to several online directories. The license holder is Mindy A. Koering of Brainerd. Prior to the temporary suspension, the DHS licensed the home day care for a capacity of 10 children, with no more than eight children to be under school age. Of those eight children, a combined total of no more than three children were permitted to be infants and toddlers, and no more than two of those could be infants. The license holder lives on site, according to license details.
A database of licensing information maintained by DHS shows one violation at the day care recorded in the past four years. In July 2018, the day care was cited for water that was too hot in areas accessible to children. Koering corrected the issue and provided documentation supporting that correction, the license details noted.
Koering has the right to appeal the temporary suspension within five calendar days from when it went into effect. In the case of an appeal, the case would be scheduled for a contested case hearing in front of an administrative law judge.