Parents of toddler who died after daycare incident hope message will help others

Local News

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — A husband and wife are sharing their story in hopes it will prevent other families from suffering their same tragedy.

In July, their son Liam died in a hospital after he was found unresponsive, but still breathing at a Watertown in-home daycare.

According to a probable cause statement, day care provider Amanda Walder admitted to being firm with the toddler, who was crying, when she put him down for a nap.

In those same court papers, Walder said it was possible she hit the toddler’s head on a bed frame but it was not intentional.

A CT scan of the child’s head showed he had a brain bleed.

Liam’s parents, Jeff and Genevie Koistinen, have been staying in Watertown over the summer visiting with family and friends.

The 17-month old boy, who loved playing with his fire truck, was their only child together.

“He changed everything. I didn’t even care of going out with my friends or anything because I just wanted to be with Liam. It’s just so different now that he’s gone,” Liam’s mom Genevie Koistinen said.

Jeff calls what happened to his son, senseless.

The husband and wife are talking about their loss today to share a message.

“Everybody’s baby cries, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the parents or the babysitter or daycare worker or whatever. At some point you’re going to have a crying baby and just take a break, set the baby down, make sure the baby’s safe, and just walk away,” Jeff Koistinen said.

They hope by opening up about their tragedy, other families won’t have to experience the same heartbreak.

The couple lives in Arizona. They’ll head back this weekend.

After Liam passed away, his family asked that memorials be sent to Midwest Bible Camp, which does missionary work in the Philippines. That’s where Genevie is from.

If you’d like to donate in Liam’s honor, click this link.

Amanda Walder currently faces multiple charges, including murder and manslaughter.

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