Daycare Owner Charged With Killing 3-Year-Old Who Refused to Take Off Coat

Rochelle Lynn Sapp
Rochelle Lynn Sapp
It's every parent's worst nightmare. You drop your kid off at daycare or leave them with a sitter and something happens to them. Autumn Elgersma, a beautiful 3-year-old girl, died on Thursday after a daycare worker allegedly slammed her down on the ground because she wouldn't take off her coat. Yes, a woman who was running a daycare out of her home was so enraged at a toddler for not taking her jacket off that she reportedly threw her to the ground, fractured her skull, caused brain trauma, and ultimately killed her.


After the incident, Rochelle Lynn Sapp, the woman allegedly responsible for Autumn's death, called the child's mother and told her that her daughter had fallen down a flight of stairs. Mrs. Elgersma immediately picked Autumn up and brought her to the hospital in Orange City, Iowa, where the seriousness of Autumn's injuries was discovered. Autumn was then air-lifted to a children's hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she passed away two days later. Sapp was originally charged with Willful Injury and Child Endangerment Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, but the police chief has said that, due to Autumn's death, those charges will be amended.

It's mind-boggling to think that a 33-year-old woman running a daycare out of her home could have committed something so cold-blooded. It really doesn't get much sicker than this. There is no excuse for using violence against a child -- and that goes double if it's something as trivial as a child wanting to leave her coat on. If this proves to be true, Sapp is not fit to be in the vicinity of children, nevertheless run a daycare.

It really is so scary that there are people like this in the world, working at daycares or getting work as babysitters or nannies. It kind of makes a parent never want to leave their child in the care of anyone they've known less than 10 years. Obviously, that isn't an option for most of us, but it's still terrifying.

If convicted, hopefully Sapp will get a punishment harsh enough to suit her crime. Of course, no punishment will ever be able to bring Autumn's parents their little girl back, but it would be completely unacceptable if this woman was only locked up for a few years and then was released on parole. 

Thoughts and prayers to Autumn's family.

What do you think is a suitable punishment for Sapp, if she's convicted?

Image via Oranage City Police Department

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