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Day care provider convicted of child neglect

NEW ULM — A 28-year-old Sleepy Eye daycare provider was convicted of child neglect Monday in Brown County District Court but avoided a prison sentence with a stay of imposition as part of a plea agreement.

McKenzie M. Bode, 308 3rd Ave. N.E., Sleepy Eye, was initially charged with felony third-degree assault and two gross misdemeanor child endangerment counts. On Monday she was convicted of felony neglect of a child, and the gross misdemeanor child endangerment counts were dismissed, as part of the plea agreement without a jail or prison sentence.

Bode was fined $1,085 and placed on three years supervised probation with the Minnesota Department of Corrections Field Services.

Probation conditions include paying restitution, open for 30 days, before fines, fees and surcharges; returning to counseling as needed, following all recommendations and paying all fees, having no direct or indirect contact with the victim and victim’s family members, not using or possessing firearms, ammunition or explosives and not registering to vote or vote until discharged from probation and civil rights restored. She also is required to perform 160 hours of service within 18 months.

According to court documents, the mother of a 7-month-old boy who was in Bode’s child care for three weeks in 2021 told Sleepy Eye Police she pulled the boy out of the day care on Sept. 7, 2021, after she said she noticed a bruise on the boy’s head.

The child’s mother said she photographed the bruise. Sleepy Eye Police Investigator Shawn Bohnen reviewed digital photos of the child, noting a bruise above his left eye and temple and a scratch the mother said Bode told her was caused by the boy scratching himself.

Bohnen emailed photos of the child to Dr. Mark Hudson of the Midwest Children’s Resource Center on Nov. 1, 2021, asking for an opinion.

Hudson reviewed the images and felt they were concerning. He recommended the mother bring the boy to the MCRC for a full skeletal survey and talk to him or one of his partners about what happened.

Bohnen got an email from MCRC Nov. 8, 2021, with records relating to the children’s Nov. 4, 2021, appointment. Records written by Dr. Ashley Cochran, Child Abuse Pediatrics fellow, and reviewed by Dr. Alice Swenson, a child abuse pediatrician, proposed the injuries were not consistent with developmental abilities of a 5- or 6-month-old child and were “highly concerning for inflicted injury.”

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