3-Month-Old Dies During First Day at NYC Daycare

Owner of unlicensed facility noticed Karl Towndrow's lips were blue
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2015 8:20 AM CDT
3-Month-Old Dies During First Day at NYC Daycare
A picture of Karl Towndrow.   (GoFundMe)

On Amber Scorah's first day back at work after maternity leave, she dropped her 3-month-old son off at the SoHo daycare that she and Lee Towndrow had chosen for him. Hours later, son Karl was dead. New York City's medical examiner's office yesterday performed an autopsy on the child, who, according to the owner of the unlicensed daycare, never woke from a nap. No obvious signs of trauma had been noted, and a cause of death has yet to be determined. The New York Daily News spoke with law enforcement sources who shared this timeline: Owner Maryellen Strautmanis reportedly gave Karl a bottle of breast milk around 10:30am; he was fussy, and she put him in a bassinet around 11:45am. By noon, he was quiet, but roughly 10 minutes later Strautmanis allegedly noticed his lips were blue. Those sources tell the Daily News neither Strautmanis nor her three employees were trained in CPR.

But the New York Times describes SoHo Child Care in terms that don't make it sound shoddy: It reportedly provided organic meals and Spanish immersion, and the woman at the helm of it for the last 14 years had herself raised six kids. Her daycare, which had been caring for 15 children, was yesterday shut down by the city. The Times points out that those working in licensed facilities must undergo training in CPR and preventing sudden infant death syndrome. A GoFundMe page set up by friends and family to assist with funeral expenses reads "Karl was beloved by his parents, who doted on him every moment." Scorah, 41, is a writer who works for Scholastic; Towndrow, 40, is a cinematographer who worked on the HBO Scientology documentary Going Clear. They released a statement via a friend that asks "for privacy as they grieve [Karl's] short, wonderful life." (Another family's sorrow: two of three kids have leukemia.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.