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Medical examiner rules infant death from natural causes

The death of an infant found unresponsive at a Baxter day care in October was due to natural causes. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office determined 4-month-old Brooklynn Mae Tramm died of congestive heart failure. Baxter Police Chief Jim ...

The death of an infant found unresponsive at a Baxter day care in October was due to natural causes.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office determined 4-month-old Brooklynn Mae Tramm died of congestive heart failure.

Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted, who at the time of the death stated no foul play was suspected, said the death investigation will be closed in light of the autopsy results. County Attorney Don Ryan also confirmed he did not intend to pursue charges against day care owners Kimberly J. and Jerry A. Opay of Baxter.

"I see no basis for criminal prosecution," Ryan said.

At 10:50 a.m. Oct. 22, the Baxter Police Department responded to a report of an unresponsive infant at the Opay's home day care located on the 5200 block of Jordan Road.

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Baxter police reported the day care providers noticed the infant was unresponsive, immediately started lifesaving efforts and called 911.

Officers at the scene were assisted by Crow Wing County sheriff's deputies and North Memorial Ambulance personnel in performing lifesaving efforts. The infant was transported to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd, where lifesaving efforts continued.

The infant died at the hospital "following extensive efforts by all personnel involved," the news release stated.

The license for the home day care remains temporarily suspended by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, although the suspension is currently under appeal.

Crow Wing County Community Services is in charge of licensing day cares in the county. Kara Terry, community services director, previously said the temporary license suspension "would be standard protocol for a situation like this."

Reached by phone Wednesday, Kimberly Opay declined to comment because the DHS investigation remained open.

Prior to the suspension, there were no restrictions on the day care's license, which was first granted on April 12, 2012, and was effective through April 1, 2017. The facility was licensed for 14 children, with no more than 10 children under school age. Of these 10 children, no more than four children could be infants or toddlers, and no more than three of those could be infants.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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