42-year-old Sylwia Pawlak-Reynolds faces two counts of second-degree murder. She is suspected to have shaken a Minnesota toddler boy so badly that he suffered fatal brain injuries. The toddler was new in the center and it was only his third day of attendance.
According to People magazine, Sylvia told investigators that she noticed Gabriel Cooper limp sitting on a highchair on July 12, 2017 in her Minneapolis daycare center. His eyes were partially closed and tongue stuck out slightly. The woman placed the emergency call, after which the police arrived at the daycare center to investigate the case. The boy was reported brain dead on July 13. Only three days later, on July 16, he was announced dead.
The medical examination revealed that Gabriel’s injuries occurred as a result of severe shaking. The autopsy report showed that the boy’s brain, neck, and eyes were injured consistently with acceleration-deceleration damage. Moreover, non-prescription antihistamine was also found in his blood. The boy died from cardiac arrest due to severe brain swelling. Gabriel’s parents told investigators that they never gave any drugs to him.
Pawlak-Reynolds told the authorities that Gabriel had been crying loudly since morning. She left him in a highchair for few minutes with some snacks and milk. When she returned to check on the children, including Gabriel’s older sister, she found him unresponsive.
Pawlak-Reynolds lost her license on September 21 and the custody of her two children. She has no lawyer who can represent her interests.
Gabriel’s father, Joe Cooper spoke to the Star Tribune on Monday, saying that his son was “a bundle of joy” who was smiling, happy and “the light of our lives.”