‘Overwhelmed’ daycare provider accused of shaking baby boy to death days before his first birthday

A Minnesota home daycare provider is facing murder charges for allegedly shaking a little boy to death two days before he would’ve turned one.

The Star Tribune reported that Sylwia M. Pawlak-Reynolds, 42, of Minneapolis, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder for the July 16 death of Gabriel Cooper.

Cooper lost consciousness while in Pawlak-Reynolds’ care on July 12 and was declared brain dead the following day.

An autopsy later indicated that Cooper died from cardiac arrest caused by severe brain swelling. However, the report noted that he sustained “traumatic” injuries to his brain, neck, and eyes that were consistent with “an acceleration-deacceleration injury.”

Coroners also found a nonprescription antihistamine in his bloodstream that his parents didn’t give him, the newspaper reported.

An arrest warrant obtained by People revealed that the daycare provider claimed the 11-month-old went limp in his highchair.

She reportedly called 911 after noticing that his eyes were partially closed and his tongue was slightly sticking out. Officers reportedly found her attempting to resuscitate the child when they arrived.

Documents also indicated that it was the baby’s third day at the daycare when the fatal incident occurred. His parents told police that Pawlak-Reynolds appeared “overwhelmed” and that they were considering pulling Cooper and their 6-year-old daughter out of the Minneapolis daycare, the charging document added.

Department of Human Services personnel suspended the daycare provider’s license immediately after the incident–an act made permanent on September 21.

Additionally, Hennepin County officials petitioned to strip Pawlak-Reynolds, a mother of two, of her parental rights a week after the deadly incident. Her parental rights remain suspended.

A warrant has since been issued for Pawlak-Reynolds’ arrest.


[Featured Image: Gabriel Cooper/YouCaring]