UPPER SOUTHAMPTON >> An Upper Southampton Township woman has been charged in the asphyxiation death of an 11-month-old girl at an illegal daycare facility the woman ran out of her home.
Lauren Landgrebe, 48, of the 1500 block of Rosebud Road, was arraigned Dec. 4 on felony counts of involuntary manslaughter, endangering welfare of children, operating a daycare facility without a license and tampering with evidence.
The baby died Aug. 27 from asphyxiation by strangulation after being placed incorrectly in a car seat and left unattended for about two hours.
The baby was one of eight children in Landgrebe’s care that day.
Landgrebe also is charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property stemming from the theft of Social Security Disability funds, which detectives discovered while investigating the child’s death. Though the total amount of the theft is still being calculated, as charged, it is believed to be at least in excess of $2,000.
Following her arraignment, Landgrebe was jailed in lieu of bail set by District Judge Michael W. Petrucci at 10 percent of $500,000.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, Landgrebe’s husband called 911 just after 4 p.m. Aug. 27 after finding the baby unresponsive and partially strapped in a car seat on the dining room table. Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad rushed the child to Abington Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:15 p.m.
Through investigation, township police and Bucks County Detectives learned Landgrebe placed the baby in the car seat at 1 p.m. for a nap, but the child became fussy because she had not yet eaten.
At 2 p.m., Landgrebe gave the baby a bottle. Because the baby could not hold the bottle herself, Landgrebe propped it up on a rolled hand towel. Landgrebe said she then left the room and spent the next two hours outside near the swimming pool at her residence and, according to the complaint, told investigators she did not return to check on the child until 4 p.m.
In a subsequent interview, 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, the complaint says.
Investigators later recovered the photo, which showed the baby slumped low in the car seat with the chest strap around her neck.
The complaint says the photo shows the car seats leg straps, which would have prevented the baby from sliding down in the seat, were not engaged.
During the investigation, detectives learned Landgrebe had been collecting Social Security Disability payments for about 10 years, claiming in filings that she was unable to work. And despite telling detectives she had operated the day care at her home for years, the complaint says, she never reported any income from the business.
A preliminary hearing in the matter is tentatively set for Dec. 12.
The case was investigated by Bucks County Detectives and the Upper Southampton Township Police Department. It has been assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Monica W. Furber.