Rochelle Sapp, a home daycare business owner in Iowa, is accused of throwing a toddler to the ground for failing to remove her coat last month.
On October 29, Sapp phoned Elgersma’s mother to tell her that her daughter had injured her head during a fall at the Orange City, Iowa, residence.
She said the three-year-old had fallen down some stairs.
Two days later, Elgersma died in Sioux Falls, S.D., children’s hospital while receiving treatment her for a skull fracture and brain swelling, reports indicate.
Doctors said the injuries were inconsistent with a child falling down stairs, and police allege that Sapp, 33, later admitted throwing the girl to the ground.
Sapp had been charged with willful injury and child endangerment resulting in serious injury, both felonies. New charges will be filed following an autopsy.
Autumn’s parents Philip and Jennifer Elgersma, said:
“Our family is deeply saddened by the loss of our little girl. The prayers offered by others on our behalf are giving us the strength to get though this very difficult time.”
“Autumn was a joy in our lives and we are blessed to have called her ours. We take comfort in the fact that she is now with her Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“We ask for your continued thoughts and prayers for our family.”
In the wake of this tragedy, according to the Sioux City Journal, neighbors remembered Autumn Elgersma as “a bubbly little girl who loved to be around people.”
“She was just fun to be around, and we’re going to miss her a lot,” next-door neighbor Bev Rohrs told the newspaper. “She was just adorable, cute as a bug in a rug.”
Last month, an Ohio daycare worker named Heather Koon was charged with raping children under her care, and filming the unspeakable acts to boot.