Authorities in South Dakota have charged the owner of an unlicensed daycare with murder in the death of an infant in her care. Amanda Walder faces multiple charges related to the death of 16-month-old Liam Koistinen.
Parents Jeff and Genevie Koistinen reportedly dropped their son off at Walder’s daycare facility on July 14. Later that day at around 3 pm, police responded to a call of an unconscious but breathing child at the location. Arriving at the scene, they found Liam unresponsive.
Responders took Liam to a nearby hospital, where he passed away from a brain bleed. His parents later shared his autopsy, which indicated that trauma at the base of his skull was consistent with assault. Doctors also reportedly found signs that the boy was shaken.
When questioned by authorities, Walder reportedly said the boy had been difficult about lying down for nap time and admitted being “firm” with him, according to the Watertown Public Opinion. She also said she may have unintentionally harmed the boy.
Police originally arrested Walder in connection with the death in July, but released her shortly after without disclosing charges. However, last week authorities introduced new charges against her, including one count of second degree murder, two counts of first degree manslaughter, and one count of aggravated battery of an infant. Officers arrested Walder on these charges on Friday, September 3.
Walder currently awaits trial at the Codington County Detention Center, with bail set at $100,000. Her arraingment is set for September 29.
Meanwhile, Jeff and Genevie Koistinen paid loving tribute to Liam, calling him their “miracle baby.”
“His laugh would fill the room, such a full belly laugh. You could not help but laugh with him,” the parents wrote in an obituary. “Liam loved cars and trucks, just like his dad. His first word said every morning was car. Liam enjoyed watching CocoMelon and Baby Shark.”