A babysitter, Sarah Gumm, 33, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for killing a three-month-old baby girl in her care. Gumm pleaded guilty to murdering Rylan Koopmeiners in Waukegan, Illinois, after the baby died of a skull fracture and cranial hemorrhage.
Gumm was trying to change Rylan’s diaper and became frustrated when the little girl began squirming around. She slammed the baby’s head on a wooden table, prosecutors said shortly after Rylan’s death in July 2012.
Gumm cried in court today as she pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder and accepted a plea bargain, the Daily Herald reported.
She will serve her sentence at the Illinois Department of Corrections and will receive credit for the 1,299 days she has spent in Lake County Jail since her arrest.
‘Sarah took this deal, not because she was guilty, but because she couldn’t find a way to win if it went to trial,’ her husband James Gumm told the Daily Herald. ‘Sarah is not a murderer.’
An autopsy revealed that ‘an extreme amount of force’ must have been used to cause Rylan’s injuries, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ari Fisz said at the time of her death.
Rylan’s parents, Nathan and Reggan Koopmeiners, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, dropped their daughter off at Gumm’s home in Waukegan at about 6:45am on July 27, 2012.
At about 4:30pm, Gumm called the police and reported that the little girl was not breathing. Rylan was rushed to Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 5 pm.
Gumm had initially told police that the three-month-old had been sleeping when she heard a ‘gurgling noise’ and noticed that the baby seemed to be in distress, prompting her to call 911.
While Gumm told investigators that she was home all day, one of her neighbors spotted the 33-year-old woman leaving alone in a taxi that afternoon.
Fisz also said that authorities discovered that Gumm used her credit card twice at a local drugstore that day before calling police.
During a second interview with the police, Gumm allegedly admitted to going to the pharmacy and leaving the baby unsupervised at home. Fisw said Gumm then admitted to causing the baby’s injuries.
‘She also told police that later in the afternoon the baby was getting very fussy and squirming around while she was trying to change her on a wooden table,’ Fisz said. ‘She was holding the child up above the table. She got frustrated.’
Rylan’s parents hired Gumm six weeks prior to the tragic incident after seeing an advertisement for her services online.
They were present for the plea announcement and thanked the prosecution team in a statement read in court, the Chicago Tribune reported.
‘We are grateful to God some form of earthly justice has been served for Rylan,’ they said. ‘To Rylan, we love you every moment of the day, baby girl.’