UPDATE: Girl Who Was Injured In Orange City Daycare Abuse Case Has Passed Away; Charges To Be Updated

Date posted - November 1, 2013

Hand Cuffs sxcUPDATE: Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City daycare provider faces felony charges after reports of serious injury to a three-year-old child, who, according to Orange City Police Chief Dan Pottebaum, has now passed away.

The victim was Autumn Elgersma, 3-year-old daughter of Phillip and Jennifer Elgersma of Orange City. She passed away on Thursday, October 31, 2013, at the Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her obituary can be found here, or on air on KIWA Radio.

This past Tuesday (October 29, 2013), officers with the Sioux Falls Police Department, the Orange City Police Department, and the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office responded to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls to investigate a report of possible child abuse. Officers found a three-year-old Orange City girl with serious head injuries including a fractured skull and brain trauma.

The Orange City Police Department requested the assistance of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to further investigate the report of child abuse.

The child’s mother says that the child received the injuries while in the care of her daycare provider, 33-year-old Rochelle Lynn Sapp. Sapp runs an in-home daycare in Orange City. Sapp initially told investigators that the girl’s injuries occurred when she fell down a flight of stairs. However, the investigation revealed that the child’s injuries were not consistent with a fall down a flight of stairs and upon being questioned, Sapp admitted that she caused the child’s injuries by throwing the child to the floor.

Officers consulted with Sioux County Attorney, Coleman McAllister to determine if probable cause existed to obtain a warrant for Sapp’s arrest.

Authorities decided to arrest Sapp, so she was transported to the Sioux County Jail on Thursday morning (October 31). She faces charges of Willful Injury, and Child Endangerment Resulting in Serious Injury, both Class C felonies. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance in Sioux County District Court soon.

Police Chief Pottebaum reports however, that in light of the fact that Elgersma has now passed away, the charges against Sapp will be updated.

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16 Responses to “UPDATE: Girl Who Was Injured In Orange City Daycare Abuse Case Has Passed Away; Charges To Be Updated”

  1. Citizen XYZ says:

    This is such a tragic situation! That poor little girl is going to heaven and leaving holes in the hearts of so many. I can’t even say what I feel about this so called daycare provider. My heart aches!

    • Sad says:

      Tragic. No parent expects their child to be abused by someone they are entrusting their care to. 3 years old. Precious to so many. Sad beyond belief.

    • als says:

      yes a tragic situation all around the poor girls family, Rochelle’s husband and their children. She deserves the book thrown at her and the rest need our prayers!

      • Forgiven says:

        I believe Rochelle needs our prayers as well. Let’s remember there is one eternal judge and the rest of us need to pray!

  2. anonymous says:

    She has passed. Rest in peace, Autumn.

  3. Meets says:

    Tragic. I personally know the child’s family. One doesn’t want to place blame bc either way its a loss for all families involved. Best I can say is hug your child(ren), say a prayer. For the families involved…..my family has your in our prayers.

  4. Miranda Wassenaar says:

    So close to home. 3 years old. So young. All it takes is an angry or narrow minded adult to take everything away. That is horrible. My thoughts and prayers go out to the beautiful soul and her family.

  5. ara says:

    The child died tonight so I’m sure there will be more charges.

  6. Smalltowngirl says:

    Makes me sick. Poor little child. Innocent soul. Breaks my heart. Prayers to the family.

  7. eveen1985 says:

    Yes, everyone needs prayers. But our justice system has to send a message here. Not only did this lady throw the 3-year old down to the floor, she LIED about it for who knows how long. Had she been honest, gotten help for the child right away, the brain perhaps would not have swelled as much and the child could’ve been saved. Minutes are priceless when head injuries are involved.

  8. Lee Ann says:

    One would have to do more than throw a 3 year old to the floor to cause so much damage. Such a tragic situation, for everyone involved. I never could understand why a person could not just walk away, instead of abusing someone. My prayers are for Autumn’s family, as well as the family of the woman who hurt her. They are all going to suffer because of her crime.

  9. Pooker says:

    My sympathy goes to all involved in this tragic, tragic event. You never think something like this could happen in our neck of the woods; and when it does it really shoots you for a loop. I hope that all find peace and solace eventually and unanswered questions will be answered. Words cannot express what is going through my head right now……God bless them all.

    • virgil says:

      Both families have suffered a tragic event but thanks be to God who thru Jesus Christ has died for all and I pray they will all find the Power in the blood and that comfort comes to all. We often misjudge the power of Satan he is real and destructive we must take him seriously and hopefully we do not condem before we all know the truth God is love and there is no condemnation if we are washed in the blood of the lamb Consequences yes but above all love and peace to all ‘

  10. me says:

    My sympathy goes to the little girls family! She was so young, had a whole life to live, so sad how someone could get that upset at a child, who honestly probably did nothing wrong other than be a 3 year old and got cranky! If you run a daycare you should be used to cranky kids and be able to know what they are upset for and kindly see to their needs. My heart aches for the family! Your little girl is in a better place feeling no pain and being looked after by other family members and friends ’til you one day are with her again.

    • disgusted says:

      This terrible ending all because she would not take her coat off. Unbelievable. I just cant wrap my mind around it. I hope Rochelle gets what she deserves.

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