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Mother Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Stemming From Death Of Infant Daughter

Sheldon, Iowa — A second person has pled not guilty to felony charges arising from a lengthy investigation into the death of a Sheldon infant last summer.

According to online court records, 21-year-old Brittanee Baker of Sheldon entered a written plea of not guilty on Thursday to two counts of Felony Child Endangerment in connection with the death of her 5-month-old daughter last July. The baby’s father, 20-year-old Larry Ruotolo, Jr. entered a written plea of not guilty to identical charges earlier this week.

According to court documents, on the morning of July 26th last year, Ruotolo was responsible for the care of his 5-month-old daughter at their Sheldon home while Baker, the infant’s mother, was asleep in another room. When the baby wouldn’t stop crying and screaming, Ruotolo allegedly lost his temper and assaulted the child, inflicting multiple injuries. Court records say Baker took the baby to the Sheldon ER, where she was treated and released.

The following day, according to authorities, the infant was again in the care of her father, when she was found unresponsive with no pulse and no breathing. She was taken to the ER, then flown to a Sioux Falls hospital where she later died.

Trial dates for neither Baker nor Ruotolo have been set.

A third person, 49-year-old Stacie Hurlburt, has been charged with being an Accessory After the Fact for allegedly helping Ruotolo and Baker concoct a cover story about how the baby’s injuries occurred. She is scheduled for arraignment later this month, according to online court records.

Photos of Hurlburt (L), Ruotolo (C) and Baker (R) courtesy of the O’Brien County Jail

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