Parents sue Parkston day care provider for wrongful death

11-month-old boy died in 2018; no criminal charges have been filed in case

The city of Parkston's water tower. (Daily Republic file photo)
The city of Parkston's water tower. (Daily Republic file photo)

PARKSTON --The parents of an 11-month-old boy who died from head trauma have filed a wrongful death suit against a Parkston day care provider.

The complaint filed on Oct. 8 in Hutchinson County by Eric and Ashley Milbrandt, acting as administrators for the estate of their son, Elliot Milbrandt, alleges that Carroline Kniffen failed to properly supervise her Parkston day care and that her negligence led to Elliot suffering head trauma and dying on July 23, 2018.

According to the complaint, Elliot and his twin brother were dropped off at Kniffen's in-home day care that morning. At some point between then and 3:54 p.m., when the Parkston Police Department was called to the day care, Milbrandt suffered a head injury, though court documents and law enforcement have not specified how the injury occurred.

Tim Bormann, chief of staff of the South Dakota Attorney General's Office, told The Daily Republic on Wednesday that the investigation of Milbrandt's death is still open. Earlier this year, Bormann confirmed that abusive head trauma was determined to be the cause of death. To date, no criminal charges have been filed against Kniffen or anyone else in connection with the death.

The Milbrandts' complaint requests a jury trial to determine damages owed for Elliot's injuries; his conscious pain and suffering prior to his death; and medical, burial and funeral expenses. It alleges that Kniffen did not meet her duty of care to the Milbrandts by failing to properly supervise Elliot and allowing him to sustain a head injury while in her care.


If Kniffen does not respond to the Milbrandts' complaint within 30 days of being served on Oct. 8, the court could grant default judgment in the Milbrandts' favor.

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