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Manslaughter charge filed against father of Moorhead baby who died in van

MOORHEAD – The Clay County Attorney’s Office has filed a charge of second-degree manslaughter against the father of Christiana Sandstrom, a 5-month-old Moorhead girl who died last week after she was left in a van for several hours on a warm summer afternoon.

Andrew J. Sandstrom, 24, will be summoned to appear in Clay County District Court at a date to be determined, according to a statement released this afternoon by Moorhead police.

Responding to a 911 call from the infant girl’s father, Moorhead police found Christiana Sandstrom dead about 8:30 p.m. June 11 in a van with the windows and doors closed at the family’s home at 1103 19th St. S.

According to a child protection petition filed by Clay County Social Services, Sandstrom – the father who was watching the family’s six kids, all under the age of 7 – told police he had been napping and looked for the baby when he woke up. She was forgotten in the van, still in her car seat. Her father told police he thinks she was there about four hours. Temperatures were in the low 80s at the time.

Their mother, Shayna Sandstrom, told police she called Andrew twice from work to ask about the children and he told her they were fine, according to the petition.

Police said after the death they believed the girl was accidentally left in the van.

The five other children in the home – three boys ages 6, 5, and 1½ along with two girls ages 7 and 3 – were taken from the home the night their infant sister died and placed on a temporary basis with their maternal grandmother.

County social workers on Thursday filed a petition to put the children in foster care, citing filthy conditions in the home and a toilet that hadn’t been working for some time. The petition also claimed the children are “without proper parental care because of the emotional, mental or physical disability” of the parents.

In a hearing on the child protection petition Friday in Clay County District Court, Judge Michelle Lawson ordered that the children be placed in foster care.

Check back for an update on this developing story.

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