Woman sentenced to 24 years for child's death at unlicensed Springfield day care

Ryan Collingwood
Springfield News-Leader
Deborah Lundstrom showed no outward sign of emotion as a jury found her guilty in the death of eight-month old, Coleman Shirley, in 2022. The verdict was returned Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 28, 2024 in the Greene County Courthouse.

Nearly three months after a jury recommended a prison sentence of least 20 years, the unlicensed Springfield day care owner whose negligence led to the death of an infant learned her fate.

Judge Todd Myers sentenced Deborah Lundstrom to 24 years on Monday after she was found guilty in February of involuntary manslaughter, operating a child care facility without a license and nine counts of child endangerment after leaving nine children under the age of 3 at her home unsupervised.

An 8-month-old boy was found unresponsive at the illegal day care in the 2800 block of North Washington Avenue on March 2, 2022, and later declared dead. Lundstrom told police she left the infant boy and eight other children under age 3 alone for about 12 minutes while she made a trip to Hillcrest High School. She placed the baby in a car seat in the home before she left.

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An autopsy determined the child died due to strangulation by the child safety seat's buckle and strap.

Lundstrom told investigators that of the nine children left alone at the home, the majority were strapped in car seats while the toddlers were unrestrained. Police body camera footage told another story, as Lundstrom could be seen initially telling police that she took all nine children with her on her short trip.