Mother of dead Watertown toddler has history of domestic abuse, neglect

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On October 27, the Codington County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at a Watertown residence in the 900 block of 41st street. Upon arrival at 8:01 a.m. first responders found 2-year-old Julian Wernke, dead.

According to police, life-saving attempts were made by family members before authorities arrived, and three adult family members were at the scene.

The child’s mother, 21-year-old Shalyn Lacroix, had an initial appearance in court for a prior child neglect case one day before Wernke’s death, and plead not guilty.

According to the complaint from that case, LaCroix had been charged on September 10, 2021 with “contributing to the delinquency or causing a child to become child in need of supervision,” a class 1 misdemeanor.

Prior to this, on June 26, 2021, LaCroix was charged with domestic assault against an un-named victim. According to court documents, she plead guilty on October 5, 2021 and received a 30-day suspended sentence.

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