CHEYENNE – A local day care worker has been charged with manslaughter over the swaddling death of an 8-month-old girl in her care.
Kristina Croy, 37, of Cheyenne was arrested on a warrant for voluntary manslaughter June 16 by Cheyenne Police Department officers. She was later charged with a single count of manslaughter for allegedly killing an 8-month-old child that was at her day care.
Croy had her bond set at $75,000 cash, which she hasn’t posted. Her preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in Laramie County Circuit Court.
The manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. A special prosecuting attorney from Big Horn County is prosecuting this case.
According to court documents:
On Sept. 25, 2019, Cheyenne Police were dispatched to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center on a call for a dead infant. The 8-month-old, M.G., arrived at the hospital via ambulance not breathing and without a pulse.
After an autopsy, it was discovered M.G. died due to positional asphyxia, meaning she died because she couldn’t breath in the position she was placed in.
M.G. was at Croy’s day care, “It’s a Child’s World They Matter,” which was a home day care in the 3400 block of Foxcroft Road, in the neighborhood west of the Cheyenne VA Medical Center. When Croy was interviewed by law enforcement and a Wyoming Department of Family Services worker, she changed her story several times.
Initially, she said she found M.G. lying facedown on the floor of her living room with no pulse and not breathing. Earlier that day, Croy said she fed M.G. mixed vegetables and gave her a bottle before rocking her since, she thought M.G. was getting tired.
Croy then put M.G. in a “little sleeper,” which is a device that zips up to a child’s neck and “their arms go down” and the arms are held down with a Velcro-like fastener.
“They send them home in the hospital; I don’t want to call it a swaddle,” Croy told law enforcement. Croy also tells parents that she has to use a “swaddler” to prevent SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.
Croy put M.G. in the swaddling device despite specific and numerous instructions from M.G.’s mother not to swaddle M.G. Infants who are old enough to roll on their own and can sit up on their own, such as M.G. could, also aren’t supposed to be swaddled.
Wyoming child care licensing rules also prohibit swaddling toddlers without a directive from a physician.
M.G.’s mother also said her daughter had no breathing problems, was healthy and wasn’t sick when she dropped her off at day care. She also said she’d caught Croy swaddling M.G. twice, and told her not to. She said she believes M.G. would still be alive if she hadn’t gone to day care that day.
Croy said when she found M.G. facedown on the floor, she took off the swaddler, and another day care employee, Jackie Belt, watched the other 11 kids in her care while Croy told her 18-year-old daughter, Alizandria Gunn, to call 911.
Croy said when she picked up M.G. off the floor, a corner of the throw rug was on her face. Croy told officers she was in the home’s kitchen, going back and forth between the rooms, doing paperwork and cleaning.
Croy’s 18-year-old daughter was also home at the time of M.G.’s death, and her recollection of the incident contradicted Croy’s account.
The daughter stated Croy told her Belt was at lunch and wasn’t at the day care when the incident occurred. A next-door neighbor came over to watch the kids until Belt returned from lunch.
Croy told Gunn that she couldn’t reach Belt, so she went over to her house to try to get a hold of her and let her know about the emergency.
Gunn also told law enforcement that milk was coming out of M.G.’s nose when she saw the infant, and M.G. was in a “playpen thing” when the incident happened, and that’s where Croy found her. Gunn said Croy told her M.G. was in the “Pack n Play” with her lips turning purple.
When interviewed by officers, Belt told them she was at lunch, not at the day care, when M.G. died. She also said Croy asked her to lie and say she was at the day care when M.G. died.
When Department of Family Services licensing agent Michelle Tucker spoke with Croy, she noted that Croy also contradicted herself in the different accounts she told her.
Initially, Croy told Tucker that M.G. had rolled over several times, but then later told Tucker that M.G. couldn’t roll over independently. M.G.’s mother also said her daughter could sit up and roll over. She also said Croy knew this because they would sit M.G. on the floor to play with the other kids.
The swaddling device used on M.G. was recovered by officers and was listed as a size small, for 3- to 6-month-old infants weighing 13-18 pounds and was 22½ inches long. M.G. was 8 months old, 19 pounds and 25 inches long at the time of her death.
On the swaddling device, it had instructions sewn into it stating “STOP swaddling when your baby shows signs of rolling over or breaking out of the swaddle.”