Illegal Day Care Owner Jailed After Baby Dies From Car Seat Strangulation

A woman who operated an illegal day care facility out of her home was sentenced to jail on Tuesday following a baby's death from strangulation, due to how it was placed in a car seat.

According to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania, 50-year-old Lauren Elizabeth Landgrebe was sentenced to "one year less a day to two years less a day," in county prison on Tuesday.

"Landgrebe pleaded guilty in June to felony counts of involuntary manslaughter, endangering welfare of children, operating a daycare facility without a license and tampering with evidence," the D.A.'s Office said in a press release.

The jail sentence announcement comes almost two years since the initial incident in August 2019, when a baby at Landgrebe's illegal day care facility was incorrectly placed in a car seat for several hours and later died from "asphyxiation by strangulation."

On August 27, 2019, officers with the Upper Southampton Township Police Department responded to a call at Landgrebe's residence following reports of a baby that was unresponsive. When police arrived, they found the baby located in a car seat on top of a dining room table inside the home.

Lauren Elizabeth Landgrebe Mugshot
A Pennsylvania woman was recently sentenced to jail after a baby died by strangulation in a car seat at her illegally operated day care. BUCKS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

The baby, who was not identified by police or the district attorney's office, was transported to a nearby hospital shortly after but was eventually pronounced deceased at 5:51 p.m. local time, roughly one hour and 51 minutes after the initial 911 call.

Following the baby's death, police launched an investigation, which uncovered that at 1 p.m. local time on August 27, 2019, Landgrebe put the baby in the car seat for a nap. However, Landgrebe then left the baby in the car seat for several hours while she went outside to sit by her pool, according to Deputy District Attorney Monica Furber.

At 2 p.m., Landgrebe gave the baby a bottle while it was still in the car seat. Since the baby could not properly hold the bottle on its own, Landgrebe used a rolled up hand towel to prop it up, the press release said.

"Landgrebe again left the room and spent the next two hours by the pool and did not return to check on the child until 4 p.m.," the district attorney's office said. "During an interview with investigators, Landgrebe said she took a photo of the napping baby at some point after 2 p.m., which she deleted while her husband was on the phone with 911 and performing CPR on the child."

During the investigation, officials were able to discover the photo which Landgrebe took and showed the baby in the car seat, with the chest strap wrapped around its neck. According to the district attorney's office, the photo also showed that the car seat's leg straps were not used, and if they were, it could have possibly prevented the baby's death.

"During an autopsy, a mark consistent with a chest strap buckle was found on the baby's neck, and the coroner determined the baby died from asphyxia due to strangulation from a car seat restraint," the press release said.

Landgrebe pleaded guilty last month, and during her sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. said that her actions left the baby's family with a "lifetime of heartache that no judge can heal or cure."

Newsweek reached out to the Bucks County District Attorney's office for further comment.

A somewhat similar incident occurred in March, when a mother was charged with child neglect, after her child died from the straps of a car seat being too tight.