Sheldon man pleads not guilty in case of daughter’s death

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Lawrence Ruotolo, Photo Courtesy of the O’Brien County Jail.

SHELDON, Iowa (KCAU) – A Sheldon man charged with child endangerment in the death of his infant daughter has pleaded not guilty.

According to court documents, Lawrence Ruotolo, 20, of Sheldon, pleaded not guilty Monday in O’Brien County court to child endangerment with bodily injury after the death of his five-month-old daughter.

On the morning of July 26, 2020, Ruotolo lost his temper when his five-month-old baby started to cry and scream while the mother was asleep in a bedroom, and he assaulted the baby by pushing her face into the floor and “other abusive physical mechanisms,” court documents said.

The next day, the baby was found unresponsive with no pulse and not breathing. She was taken to the emergency room and then flown to Sioux Falls, where she died days later. Her death was determined as “a suffocation event of an indeterminate nature.”

The mother of the child, Brittanee Baker, also pleaded not guilty to child endangerment.

A pretrial conference will take place on July 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the O’Brien County Courthouse, and a jury trial will take place on August 10 at 9:30 a.m. at the same location.

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