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North Dakota Woman Charged with Beating 5-Month-Old Baby to Death at Illegal Day Care

Patricia Ann Wick (Stutsman County Jail)

Patricia Ann Wick (Stutsman County Jail)

A 48-year-old woman and day care provider in North Dakota has been arrested for allegedly beating a 5-month-old child under her care to death last year. Patricia Ann Wick was taken into custody and charged with one count each of murder in the course and in furtherance of certain crimes, caregiver child abuse, and operating a family child care home without a license, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a sworn affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime, officers with the Carrington Police Department at approximately 1:50 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2022, responded to a 911 call at a home located in the 400 block of 2nd Street regarding a medical emergency. The dispatcher advised that there was an unresponsive infant on site.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders found a woman performing CPR on a small child. Police took over until an ambulance arrived and transported the child to CHI Medical Center. The infant was later transported via airlift to Sanford Medical Center.

The following day, investigators received a medical report stating the child had “clearly suffered traumatic head injury and subsequently had a cardiac arrest with likely anoxic brain injury,” and that the symptoms would have been visible “immediately.” Anoxic brain injuries are caused by a complete lack of oxygen to the brain.

The child died two days after being admitted into SMC. A subsequent autopsy determined that the child’s death was a homicide caused by “complications of blunt force head and neck trauma.”

In an interview with Wick, the day care provider, she allegedly told investigators that the victim – identified in court documents as “R.N.” – was sleeping on the bed after eating while three other young children were sleeping in the same room, when the victim began to cry.

“[Wick] said that R.N. woke the other child up as well. [Wick] said she grabbed R.N. and laid R.N. on a blanket,” the affidavit states. “[Wick] then went and got the other child and sat him at the kids table, got his bib on, and warmed his plate of food up. [Wick] said she started to hear R.N. coughing. [Wick] went to the living room and saw R.N. vomiting. [Wick] rolled RN. on his side and [Wick] said R.N. ‘Just wasn’t there.'”

She claimed that she then struck the child on the back and butt to try and get a response, and he took “a big gasp of air,” before Wick called the victim’s mother “and that was it.”

However, later in the interview, Wick allegedly said that when she moved a then-crying victim from the bed to the blanket, she may have put the child “down too hard” and admitted she was “not gentle with him and that she was frustrated with [the victim] that day.”

Wick further admitted that another small child had broken their arm while in her care two weeks prior, saying that the child had fallen off of a swing in her yard. That child’s mother told police Wick did not contact her about the baby’s broken arm until she picked him up that day and that Wick never again inquired as to the child’s wellbeing.

Police later executed a search warrant on Wick’s home and found that her swing set was “not secured to the ground and could lift while in use.”

Correction: The story previously incorrectly stated that the 5-month-old victim had fallen off of the swing in Wick’s yard and broken their arm. 

(image via Stutsman County Jail)

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.