On Friday, May 4, the Ramsey County attorney's office charged Katie Elaine Lewis of Hutchinson, Minn., with third-degree assault, child endangerment and domestic assault by strangulation.
"This is a sad and terrifying act by a mother against her infant son," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. "Thankfully, a quick-acting hospital staffer stepped in to stop the assault, and now the infant is in good condition and in a secure location."
The criminal complaint gives this information:
A staff member at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, 345 Smith Ave., called 911 at 6:33 p.m. Wednesday and reported that a young mother, identified as Lewis, had suffocated her baby in a hospital room about 5:40 p.m.
The baby, identified in the complaint as C.A.W. and born Nov. 18, had been admitted to the hospital Tuesday, after he was monitored and tested at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis for several days.
Lewis had reported that the baby would stop breathing, turn blue and then regain consciousness on several occasions.
"After extensive monitoring and observation
of C.A.W. on May 2, 2012, hospital staff informed Lewis that they could find nothing wrong with him and, thus, C.A.W. would be released from the hospital within a few hours," the complaint said.
It was after she was told this that a nurse saw, via a camera screen, that Lewis was pinching the baby's nose closed and the child became unresponsive.
"When medical staff rushed into the room, Lewis claimed, 'His heart rate went down and he turned blue,' " the complaint said. Nurses who responded said a monitor showed the baby's heart rate at 78, when an infant's normal heart rate should be 130; his respirations were measured at 52, but a normal infant-respiration rate is 36.
St. Paul police were called and took Lewis into custody. Police later timed the duration of the suffocation at 45 seconds.