Kellie Jo Anderson became a foster parent last summer and for several months, the Minnesota nurse and her husband cared for a young boy whom they considered adopting, prosecutors said.
But last week, she brought the “lifeless” and “blue" child to a Fargo, North Dakota hospital, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
Anderson told detectives she suspected the child had a seizure during a bath. She said the youngster, who she claimed often self-injured himself, “threw” himself between the bathtub and the toilet. The 35-year-old said the toddler didn’t look “well” and had also registered a fever.
The child babbled, had difficulty breathing, and had a “faint pulse” during the commute to the hospital, she said, according to the criminal complaint.
At the hospital, medical staff observed the child had fixed dilated pupils — which normally occurs 10 minutes after death, doctors said. The boy had suffered a cut lip, bruising on his face and back, a bump on his head, and lacerations to his groin, the criminal complaint stated. The injuries, doctors said, weren’t consistent with Anderson’s version of events.
The boy was pronounced dead at 6:20 a.m. on April 24, according to authorities. An autopsy revealed the preliminary cause of death was asphyxia associated with blunt force trauma to the head and body. The medical examiner’s office ruled the child’s death a homicide.
Investigators also found the Minnesota nurse’s statements conflicting.
Her husband, Kyle Anderson, explained the child wasn’t known to have seizures. He said he last saw the boy alive around 7:30 p.m. on April 22, shortly before his spouse gave the child a bath. He said the child had no visible injuries at that point.
However, Kyle Anderson claimed he received a call from his wife the next day, notifying him of their foster child’s grave condition.
Kellie Anderson has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. She made her first appearance at a Clay County courthouse on Wednesday.
“They are rather serious allegations,” Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting told Oxygen.com. “We’re going to make sure that we do everything we can in our power to ensure that we bring justice for the young child.”
The couple was fostering the child for a relative but considered adopting the boy themselves, officials said. Kellie Anderson allegedly told detectives her husband was against the adoption.
“It is a tragic event,” Clay County Attorney Brian Melton told Oxygen.com. “We’ll go forward with the charges as they are and look for justice toward the child.”
He described the allegations Anderson is facing as “terrible” and “troubling.”
Authorities, who declined to release the age of the deceased child, referred to the boy as a “toddler.” The family hasn’t had previous contact with local law enforcement.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has since temporarily suspended the family’s foster license, according to a copy of the suspension order obtained by Oxygen.com. The couple became foster parents last July, a department spokesperson said.
The 35-year-old is being held on $500,000 bond. She’s scheduled back in court on June 11, according to court records. She faces a maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars if found guilty.
Her private attorney, Daniel Hopper, didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
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