A Scott County courtroom was full of tears Thursday when a 57-year-old woman was sentenced to serve up to 10 years in prison in connection with the death of an infant in February 2020.
Angela Marxen appeared in Scott County court, where the judge sentenced her for the death of a baby on Feb. 5, 2020, at Marxen’s in-home day care.
About 3:15 p.m. that day, LeClaire Police responded for an infant in distress and saw a 5-month-old girl who appeared to be unresponsive with labored breathing. The baby was transported to a local hospital, where her condition worsened.
She then was airlifted to Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, where doctors saw she had a fractured skull and a brain bleed. The baby died four days later Feb. 9, 2020.
Marxen was the homeowner and sole daycare provider for the residence, police said in affidavits.
“I’m so ashamed,” a tearful Marxen said to the judge and the baby’s family members. “I am so sorry for being responsible for your heartbreak and your grief,” Marxen sobbed. “Your Honor, I understand completely how serious this is.”
Earlier, Marxen pleaded guilty to a felony charge of child endangerment resulting in serious injury.
The parents of the child took the stand, and spoke directly to Marxen, who sobbed throughout their statements.
“You were standing there lying to my face, and in the meantime our daughter was lying in the trauma room in the ICU,” said Amy Ecklund, the baby’s mother. “Our daughter was completely normal when I dropped her off that morning at your house …. You acted like you had no clue what was going on.”
She talked about “Our sweet girl who never got a chance to grow up, who never got to live life to the full and beautiful life with us that she deserved.” She said her child should still be here, “But we left her with one of the biggest cowards and liars that we ever met.”
After the sentencing, Scott County State’s Attorney Mike Walton said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the proceedings and almost shut down the criminal justice system.
“These cases are very difficult, because it’s medical evidence for the most part. It’s just a case that went on a lot longer than it would have under normal circumstances,” he said. “Child deaths are always just difficult. All deaths are. But children are helpless and rely on adults to take care of them.”
“We don’t know what happened,” Walton said. “And not knowing what happened does not go to the benefit of prosecution.”
The 10-year sentence is by law, Walton said. “Whether it’s adequate, probably not, but that’s what’s provided for by law.”