The babysitter for three-year-old Autumn Elgersma has been charged with murder after admittedly throwing the toddler to the ground in a fit of rage. Rochelle Sapp, 33, has been charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment after the toddler died from head injuries.
On October 29, Sapp reportedly called Autumn's mother, Jennifer Elgersma, and told her that the child had fallen down the stairs. Jennifer took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a head injury; later, she was airlifted to another hospital after being diagnosed with a fractured skull and brain trauma. The toddler died two days later.
Sapp confessed to authorities and told them that she had thrown Autumn to the ground when she refused to take off her coat. The in-home caregiver was initially charged with Willful Injury and Child Endangerment, but after Autumn died, her charges were amended.
At the memorial service held for the little girl, her friends and family spoke of her energy and love. Plus, they took comfort in the fact that she was at peace and with God.
"Our family is deeply saddened by the loss of our little girl," the family said in a statement after her death was announced. "The prayers offered by others on our behalf are giving us the strength to get through this very difficult time. Autumn was a joy in our lives and we are blessed to have called her ours. We take comfort in the fact that she is now with her Savior, Jesus Christ. We ask for your continued thoughts and prayers for our family."
"We would have liked to see her grow up, go to kindergarten, be involved in more of the ministries of this church, as of course her parents must feel much more," Pastor John Klompien said at her Celebration of Life service. "But we are grateful that the days ordained for us were all written in God's book before one of them came to be."