Sitter pleads not guilty in child-abuse case

A Taos woman, accused of abusing a child in her care in August, pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to the two charges she faces in the case.

The Cole County Grand Jury last month indicted Shelley Richter, 40, on felony charges of child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Presiding Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce set a Feb. 9 status hearing and a Feb. 14 trial for Richter's case.

Doctors at University Hospital in Columbia said it appeared the 7-month-old boy, identified as L.S. in court documents, was suffering from shaken baby syndrome. After staying in the hospital nearly a month, the boy returned home, but continued treatment in Columbia.

Richter told investigators that, while picking up the boy from a walker where she stated he was being "good," Richter took a step backward and tripped over a toddler that she had not seen behind her.

She reported that, as she was falling backward toward the ground, she must have let go of the boy, causing him also to fall to the ground.

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