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Police arrest Springfield child care operator for death of infant

Police arrest day care operator after infant dies
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 2:42 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Police arrested a Springfield child care operator following the death of an infant in her care.

Deborah Lundstrom, 47, operated the home daycare. She faces charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death, eight counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and operating a child care facility without a license.

On March 2, officers responded to the home on North Washington for a report of an infant not breathing. Officers performed CPR on the infant until first responders arrived. The eight-month-old child died at a Springfield hospital.

Investigators say Lundstrom left her home for approximately 12 minutes to do a pickup at Hillcrest High School, leaving all nine children unsupervised. Investigators say she placed the infant, along with several other children, into car seats before she left.

Lundstrom told investigators her 18-year-old daughter was home during that time. However, the daughter told officers she had gone to a park with her boyfriend and was not home.

The Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy. The autopsy states the cause of death as asphyxiation, with the doctor saying the car seat chest clip may have prevented the baby boy from breathing. According to the doctor who performed the autopsy, it did not appear the baby boy died of an assault.

In Missouri, a child care facility can be run without a license. However, it can only care for six children or less. Lundstrom was caring for nine children at her daycare.

Neighbor Dirk Rowe knew Lundstrom ran a daycare but says he never saw kids outside the house.

“I think she may have mentioned it,” Rowe says. “I’ve spoken to her maybe two or three times over the two years we’ve lived here so I think she’s mentioned it before.”

Rowe says he didn’t expect anything like this to happen two doors down from him.

“It’s always shocking when something like this happens,” Rowe says. “It’s a quiet neighborhood. We enjoy being here. We enjoy the neighbors. I’m surprised this would happen here.”

Detectives ask anyone with information about this incident to contact the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810. You may also provide information anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 417-869-TIPS (8477).

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