Brainerd Mother Accused of Strangling Her Child, Faces Domestic Assault Charges
A Brainerd woman is facing one felony count of domestic assault by strangulation after officials alleged she harmed her child.
According to court documents, on January 20, Dayna Leigh Baker, 36, was arrested by law enforcement at Home Depot after school officials raised concerns over the state of Baker’s child.
Photos and reports taken by school officials showed the child had redness and bruising around their face, neck and head. Some bruises reportedly resembled fingerprints on the back of the victim’s neck. Other signs of strangulation were present as well, such as significant petechia, or small brown-purple spots under the skin that occur from trauma.
The victim stated to child protective services that their mother punished them the previous night. They were made to stand facing a wall. When the child started to lightly hit their head against the wall, their mother reportedly came into the room and slapped them multiple times on their face and neck. Law enforcement noted this type of punishment had been observed in past child maltreatment cases, which also included restricting food.
Law enforcement then reached out to Baker and requested to speak with her at the police station. Baker complied and claimed that she did make her child stand, facing a wall but did not physically assault them.
Following this statement, the victim was interviewed once more after school officials reported more injuries. The victim then elaborated on the assault and said Baker put her hand around their throat, and “lifted [them] completely off the ground.” The child alleged Baker also hit them and their siblings with boards. A medical examination of the child documented different injuries, some of which were consistent with strangulation.
Law enforcement also learned a sibling possibly had audio/video evidence of the abuse. Upon interviewing the sibling, they shared they heard screaming and crying the night of January 19. Documents state the audio played for law enforcement sounded like the victim screaming in “immense pain” and a female subject screaming in an “out-of-control manner.”
Baker faces one felony charge of domestic assault by strangulation. The charges carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Baker is currently held in Crow Wing County Jail. Bail is set at $75,000 without condition and $25,000 with conditions. Her next court appearance is scheduled for January 31 at 8:30 a.m.