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Day care death lawsuit settled in confidential agreement

Brooklyn Howard

The parents of a 3-month-old infant who died after she was allegedly beaten by another child at an in-home day care in rural Mitchell have settled out of court with the day care's owner.

Donald Howard and Amy Ruml, parents of the late Brooklyn Howard, have reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with Lacey Marie Tebay, according to the parents' attorney, Scott Heidepriem, of the Sioux Falls-based law firm Johnson, Heidepriem and Abdallah.

The settlement was reached in late December, Heidepriem said in an email reply Monday to The Daily Republic. An order dismissing the lawsuit was signed by a judge Dec. 27.

Brooklyn died June 19 while she was at a day care Tebay operated at her home at 709 W. Spruce St. Ruml and Howard claimed in their lawsuit that Tebay failed to properly care for Brooklyn, left her alone in a room with as many as seven other children and then ignored her cries when one of those other children, a 5-year-old, allegedly attacked her. Brooklyn suffered multiple skull fractures as a result of blunt force trauma to her head, the complaint says.

No answer to the complaint was ever filed by Tebay, who was represented by attorney Gary P. Thimsen, of the Sioux Falls-based law firm Woods, Fuller, Shultz and Smith.

As both parties agreed to keep the settlement confidential, both Heidepriem and Thimsen declined to comment when contacted Monday by The Daily Republic.

After a month-long investigation immediately following the incident, authorities announced no criminal charges would be filed in connection with Brooklyn's death.

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