Social Service Takes Action against Parents of Baby Who Died - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Social Service Takes Action against Parents of Baby Who Died in Van

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  Clay County Social Services is taking legal action against the Moorhead parents of a baby who died in the family's minivan. 

     The agency has asked for an emergency protective hearing for Andrew and Shayna Sandstrom's 5 remaining children. 

     The Sandstrom's five-month-old daughter died after being left alone in a van for 4 hours Tuesday afternoon. Police have ruled the death an accident, but they also removed the family's other children from the home.  

     Court documents say there are concerns about "extremely filthy conditions." Social workers are asking the kids be left in foster care until the Sandstrom's address the issues raised. 



The investigation of baby killed after being left unattended in a car for hours continues Moorhead. Police are calling the situation accidental. No charges have been filed against the parents Andrew and Shayna Sandstrom.

As the family struggles with the loss of five month old Christiana, police say children are left in a vehicle more often than you'd think.

The father, Andrew Sandstrom, had just dropped his wife at work when he arrived home with his six children, all under the age of seven.

It wasn't until four hours later when he realized 5 months old Christiana was in the car, and by then, it was too late.

A parent's worst nightmare turned into reality Tuesday night at this apartment complex in Moorhead.

"It's one of those tragic incidents. It's being investigated as an accidental death," says Lt. Tory Jacobson, Moorhead Police Department.

Jacobson says a situation like this is devastating.

"The picture here is of extreme tragedy. We can't truly imagine what it's like that lost a sister, and a daughter. It's a horrible picture," says Lt. Jacobson.

Since 1998-2004 there have only been a handful of people in Minnesota and North Dakota who have died after being left unattended in a car. But although that number may be small it only takes a matter of minutes for a big impact to take place.

"You can see inside of the vehicle is probably 80 degrees," says Bobbi Paper-Schwantes, Sanford Injury Prevention Coordinator.

Paper-Schwanes says people don't think things like this happen in the Midwest.

"It does happen here. Every one needs to be aware of it," says Paper-Schwantes.

Temperatures outside are nothing compared to the inside of a car.

"In ten minutes, it can go up 20 degrees, in 1 to 2 hours it's 50 degrees," says Paper-Schwantes.

And that's why Paper-Schwantes says no child should be left for even a minute.

"Cracking window doesn't help," says Paper-Schwantes.

She says Tuesday night's accident is a tragic example of what happens if you do.

Valley News Live also spoke with neighbors of the Sandstrom's in the apartment complex who did not know the family, but also call this situation tragic.


Moorhead Police say 5-month-old Christiana Natany Sandstrom of Moorhead is dead after being left in a car for about four hours Tuesday.

The call came in around 8:20 Tuesday night from 1103 19th Street South, after the father called 911. 

When authorities arrived, they say the baby's father was holding Christiana and trying to provide medical attention but she was not responding.

First responders say the girl had been moved to a nearby apartment and they took over CPR but it was too late and she was was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Christiana's body will be sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

Five other children, all under the age of seven were in the family's apartment when police arrived, they have been removed from the home. Officers say the home had "extreme filth and was unsafe for other children."

Clay County Social Services helped place the five other children elsewhere and are providing them with help as they witnessed the traumatic event.

Police say the case will be investigated separately from the child's death. At this point the death is being treated as accidental and no charges have been filed. The investigation is still ongoing.

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