North St. Paul daycare provider pleads guilty in infant’s death

Amy Jo Englebretson

An unlicensed daycare provider in North St. Paul pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the death of an infant in her care last summer.

Amy Jo Englebretson, 44, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter Aug. 30 in Ramsey County District Court.

According to court documents, a 6-month-old girl in Englebretson’s care reportedly stopped breathing Aug. 8, 2016, when she became tangled in the straps of her car seat.

Englebretson told police she placed the infant in the car seat for a nap, and then placed the car seat on a bed in a bedroom. She added that she went back into the bedroom twice, and the second time she noticed that the child had slipped down in her car seat and the straps, which were too loose, were around the child’s neck. 

Englebretson, who was taking care of nine other children at the time, began CPR and called police, who arrived to the home in the 2300 block of South Avenue around 11 a.m., court documents say. 

Officers said they performed CPR on the baby until an ambulance arrived to transport her to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, where she was pronounced dead around 11:45 a.m.

Medical records indicate the primary cause of death appeared to be strangulation with cardiac arrest. They also noted “strap marks” on the child’s body. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be “asphyxia due to compression of the neck.”

According to court documents, the infant’s mother told police that Englebretson told her the baby would be napping in a portable crib in the living room within sight of the caretaker.

Police also said they discovered that Englebretson lacked a license for her home daycare operation and misled parents on the number of children that would be in her care. 

Court documents say Englebretson had not recently applied for a childcare license in Minnesota at the time of the incident, though she had been previously licensed in Polk and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin. However, she had never been licensed to take care of more than six children, and no more than three of the children were to be younger than 7 years old.

On the day the infant died, all of the children in Englebretson’s care were under 7 years old. Court documents say she had at least six violations during her licensure in Wisconsin for not complying with the number of children and age restrictions.

The Pioneer Press reported that in court, Englebretson admitted that her failure to properly supervise the infant caused the child’s death, but also stated that she had not intended to harm the child. 

The maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter is 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both. Englebretson’s sentencing is schedulted for Jan. 17, 2018.


Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or

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