Closure for Family: Day Care Operator Jailed for Infant's Coma

Due to severe injuries that put a 6-month-old infant in a coma, a Minnesota mother and former daycare operator will be imprisoned for a number of years.

In October 2023, Michelle Maree Holte, then fifty-nine, entered a guilty plea to one count of first-degree assault.

Judge Jay M. Quam of Hennepin County sentenced the defendant to 91 months in jail, which is little more than seven and a half years, on Friday for the incident that necessitated the removal of Nolan Sapp’s skull.

During a protracted sentencing hearing, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Dan Allard stated, “What she did was about as close to a murder as we could see,” as reported by Saint Paul-based ABC affiliate KSTP. “I’m honestly stunned that Nolan survived.”

When Nolan’s parents brought him up from Holte’s daycare on October 18, 2023, in Champlin, a medium-sized city located about 20 miles north of Minneapolis, they found that there was a terrible problem with his eyes.

Initially, the boy’s gaze was directed to the left. Then Nolan closed his eyes the whole way home.

According to a criminal complaint received by the TV station, the distressed parents returned home to find their son’s “eyes were bouncing while still veering left,” flexed limbs that “did not feel normal,” and was unable to turn his head.

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The Sapps took their infant to a hospital close by right away.

The outlet was able to get court records that said the purpose of the skull removal treatment was to alleviate the child’s brain of excessive edema. Nolan was hospitalized and placed into a medically-induced coma to treat injuries that included retinal hemorrhages, a severe brain damage, and a subdural hemorrhage.

According to court documents, the boy’s injuries will probably have long-term medical effects.

When Nolan’s mother inquired about what had transpired, it is said that Holte lied, claiming that another youngster had picked up and then dropped the infant. After speaking with a different youngster at the defendant’s daycare, investigators concluded that the mother had been “rough” with the baby.

Investigators also requested the older youngster to use a baby doll to show what they witnessed Holte do to Nolan. The young girl “dropped the doll on the table in front of her and took the doll to eye level.”

“The mechanism of injury, of a forceful slamming, reported by the daycare provider, could explain [Victim’s] presentation with subdural hemorrhage, severe brain injury, and retinal hemorrhages,” the boy’s doctor stated. “It is notable that he was reported to have been symptomatic immediately afterwards, which is also consistent with a severe traumatic event.”

When the facts were revealed, Holte eventually acknowledged that she had hit Nolan “a little harder than normal.” She attempted to justify her actions by telling the police that she was “overwhelmed and frustrated” and had reached “a breaking point, in a bad way.”

She expressed regret during the sentence hearing.

“I want to express my deepest remorse and sincere apologies,” the defendant stated.

When imposing the punishment, the court expressed regret to the boy’s family and stated that the boy’s appalling treatment did not seem to be malicious.

“I can’t give you justice,” Quam stated. “Justice is somehow rewinding this and preventing it from happening.”


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