The 3-year-old girl who was the focus of an Orange City child abuse investigation has died in a Sioux Falls hospital. According to authorities, the girl was hurt by her daycare provider. According to court papers, 33 year-old Rochelle Sapp operates a home daycare and called the girl's mother Tuesday afternoon to tell her the child had fallen down the stairs. But a medical examination showed her injuries didn't fit the story.
According to court papers, after receiving the call, the mother of the child arrived at this home to pick up her 3-year-old daughter and take her to the Orange City hospital. The child was later air lifted to Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls. When the child arrived, hospital staff contacted police because the injuries weren't consistent with the report. According to the affidavit, the girl had a skull fracture and brain swelling. She died late Thursday afternoon. Law enforcement then interviewed Sapp, who according to court papers, admitted to throwing the child on the floor when the girl wouldn't take off her coat.
While she can't comment on this specific case, Sanford's Kim Overby says sometimes communication and understanding can help these situations.
"When you understand what children are able to understand and how children communicate, it's easier to have a positive interaction," Kim Overby says.
Education, experts say, is also important in preventing child abuse cases.
"Education really is the key. There are some common situations that parents or caregivers may find especially challenging," Child's Voice Director Connie Schmidt said.
Sapp is currently charged with Willful Injury and Child Endangerment Resulting in Serious Injury, both felonies. Orange City Police Chief Jim Pottebaum says new charges will be filed against Sapp after autopsy results are in.
Sapp's daycare was not registered, but that isn't required in Iowa if the provider care for five or less children.