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SF Day Care Provider Pleads Guilty To Neglect

March 6, 2014, 5:46 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SF Day Care Provider Pleads Guilty To Neglect

A former Sioux Falls day care provider has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child neglect. An attorney for 53-year-old Connie Edwards entered the plea Thursday afternoon.

Edwards was charged in 2011 after a four-month-old girl died at her in-home day care. Edwards was not home at the time of the death and investigators say the day care was over capacity.

Four-month-old Meredith Ulmer died at Edwards’ in-home daycare on June 30, 2011. Her death was ruled accidental.

Edwards did not personally show up to court Thursday but defense attorney Nichole Carper entered a guilty plea for her to one count of misdemeanor child neglect and one count of making a false report to police.

"Constance Edwards admits that on the day in question she was questioned by law enforcement and asked how many children she had in her care at that time Constance admits the answer she gave law enforcement was not accurate," Carper said in court.

On June 30, 2011 investigators say Edwards took nine kids to Wild Water West and left 15 others - including Ulmer - with two teenage girls. The number of children in Edwards care that day was double what is allowed by the city of Sioux Falls.

When Edwards found out about Ulmer's death she stopped and dropped off the nine kids she took to Wild Water West at a park before returning home.

"She contacted their parents and had them picked up at that location prior to responding back to her residence," McGowan said.

Edwards faces a maximum of ten days in jail and a ban on operating a day care as part of the plea agreement. Edwards will be required to appear in court in April when she's sentenced nearly three years after the incident.

"There's been a lot of litigation ongoing in this case so we're quite pleased we're at a point where we can bring this case to a close," McGowan said after court.

Judge Brad Zell will ultimately decide how long Edwards will be banned from running a day care when she's sentenced.
She has not run a day care since the summer of 2011.

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