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Unlicensed daycare operator arrested after infant's death


An unlicensed daycare operator from Sedalia has been arrested and charged with the death of an infant who died in her care Dec. 7, 2021. Ashley N. Kratzer, 32, was charged last week with first-degree involuntary manslaughter, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and operating an unlicensed child care facility.

A probable cause statement said two Sedalia police officers responded to 2428 Poplar Place at 2:13 p.m. and entered the home after no one answered the door. There were several children in the living room, and Kratzer could be heard yelling from the backroom. They found the 4-month-old boy laying on his back.

“I don’t know what to do,” Kratzer was recorded saying on police body-worn cameras.

Officers began chest compressions until the Sedalia Fire Department arrived and took over. The baby was transported to Bothwell Regional Health Center where he was pronounced dead.

It is believed the child suffocated on a blanket left in his playpen, and photos taken by detectives showed the general outline and pattern of the blanket found in his crib imprinted on his forehead.

In subsequent interviews Kratzer said she put the baby down for a nap around 11 a.m. and went to get him up before 2 p.m. Finding the baby paler than normal, she first called her mother, who called 911. Kratzer claimed she didn't know what to do because she'd never had something like this happen.

The child’s parents reported to police Kratzer had claimed to be a state-certified facility and she was CPR certified as well.

“She also represented herself to parents as someone who was, in fact, certified in CPR,” Det. Kirra Pappert, lead investigator on the case said Friday. “We found out that her certifications had actually lapsed and at no time did she actually try to provide that emergency care.”

The probable cause statement further alleges Kratzer advertised herself on her Facebook page as CPR/first aid certified. Kratzer allegedly made no attempts at performing CPR and neglected to immediately call 911.

“She was not the one actually who called 911,” Pappert said. “She called her mother first and her mother was the one that called 911. Dispatchers are specially trained when you call and an emergency like that happens they can give guidance on how to start chest compressions, what you need to be doing to provide emergency care, and because it wasn’t her who called 911 they couldn’t give that information.”

Kratzer stated she had fed the baby before putting him down because he was being fussy, though she noted that this was normal for him as he's a “fussier baby” since his mother “spoils” him due to him being her first. She noted that his mother “holds him and stuff” and she can't do this as much since she has other kids to look after.

An autopsy showed no signs of abuse, and though definitive results could take the time it did appear the death was consistent with asphyxia caused by unsafe sleeping practices.

Kratzer admitted to leaving a loose blanket with the child as she didn’t want the babies sleeping on cold pads.

“Under Missouri law, you are allowed to have six children who are not your own under your care in an unlicensed facility daycare,” Pappert said. “Anything above that is a violation of state law. She had, including the victim child, 11. 

Thursday, Aug. 12, Kratzer was arrested and posted a $10,000 bond. Her arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 30.