Donnellson Daycare Provider Charged in Child’s Death

By Jason Van Arkel, August 22, 2019

A southeast Iowa day care provider has been charged in the death of a child that occurred late last year.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Laura McDowell was arrested on Thursday, and charged with child endangerment resulting in death. McDowell is the the supervisor and lead teacher of Raisin’ Em Up Daycare in Donnellson.

On the morning of December 3rd of last year, Lee County paramedics were called to the daycare, where they found an unresponsive child. The child was first taken to Fort Madison Community Hospital, and later to the University of Iowa Hospital. After eight days of treatment, the decision was made to take the child off of life support on December 11th.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Human Services started the process of closing both of the daycare’s locations in Donnellson. The DHS made multiple unannounced visits to Raisin’ Em Up in April, and those visits resulted in 15 complaints being filed against the daycare in June. Those complaints included staff sleeping while children were under their supervision, duplicating medications, unlawful transportation, leaving children on buses unattended, and improper ratios of supervisors to children. Daycare owner Sarah Tweedy had appealed the decision to revoke her company’s licenses, allowing them to remain open.

If McDowell is convicted, she faces up to 25 years in prison.

As a reminder, a criminal charge is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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