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Edwards: 'Never Endangered Any Child Purposefully'

May 5, 2014, 6:41 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Edwards: 'Never Endangered Any Child Purposefully'
Connie Edwards

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

A former Sioux Falls day care provider will never work in a day care again.

That was part of Connie Edwards' sentence Monday afternoon after she pleaded guilty in March to misdemeanor child neglect.

The case stems from the June 30, 2011, death of four-month-old Meredith Ulmer, who accidentally died in Edwards in-home day care.  But Edwards had twice as many children as allowed by ordinance at the time and Ulmer was sleeping in the master bathroom on the second level of the home.

Edwards pleaded guilty to child neglect in this case but the defense argued Tuesday that there is no connection between Ulmer's death and the fact that Edwards had more children in her care than allowed by ordinance.

Edwards and her attorney stated that their own expert believes Ulmer died from SIDS and that it was not an accidental suffocation that could have been prevented.  Edwards has operated a day care for 25 years and says she treated the children in her care like her own family and that this was a terrible incident.

"I know in my heart, with God as my witness, I have never endangered any child purposefully and I love kids," Edwards said.

"I think the court fashioned an appropriate sentence under the circumstances.  We're just pleased for the Ulmers to be done with this process," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said.

This case was the third time in 2011 that Edwards was caught with more children at her in home day care than allowed by city ordinance.

Judge Brad Zell thought it was serious enough and stuck with the plea agreement sentencing Edwards to 10 days in the county jail and banning her from working in a day care the rest of her life.

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