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Hopkins parents charged after 9-year-old daughter dies of asthma attack

Parents charged in daughter's deadly asthma attack
Parents charged in daughter's deadly asthma attack 01:57

HOPKINS, Minn. — Two parents face charges after they allegedly delayed medical attention for their 9-year-old daughter, who died after she had an asthma attack.

The parents, from Hopkins, both face second-degree manslaughter charges. 

Documents say their daughter went over to a friend's home for a sleepover on the evening of Feb. 9. Around 7 a.m. the next morning, the friend woke up her parent to say that the girl was having an asthma attack. The friend's parent said that the girl was having trouble breathing and was trying to use her inhaler.

The friend's parent noticed that the inhaler was not helping curb the effects of the asthma attack, charges say.

MORE: 2 charged for late-night police chase through downtown Minneapolis

The friend's parent then called the girl's father, who allegedly sighed and passed the phone off to the mother when he heard his daughter was having an asthma attack, charges state. The friend's parent dropped the girl off back at home and offered to take her to the doctor. However, her parents refused the offer even though the girl asked to go to the doctor, charges state.

Documents say a family friend arrived at the home around 10 a.m. because he'd heard from the girl's aunt that she needed help. When he arrived, he noticed the girl's skin was blue, she could not raise her arms, and she was crying. Her mother ran a steam bath for her but eventually he carried her out to the parking lot, where he called 911. She arrived at the hospital shortly before 11 a.m.

Charges say she was kept in the ICU for seven days until doctors pronounced her to be brain dead due to a lack of oxygen to her brain. 

The father told officers that the girl had asthma issues starting on Feb. 8 and she started feeling better on Feb. 9. He admitted that she told him her inhaler was empty a month ago and they never got it refilled.

Doctors, including a Pediatric Critical Care doctor said that the sooner someone receives medical intervention for asthma, the better the result, and a steam bath is not a recognized treatment. 

The mother and the father are both in custody.

Dean Severn lives in the same Hopkins community as the Modrows and watched as medics tried to save the little girl. He says her dad filmed the whole thing.

A YouTube channel linked to the girl's father shows first responders on the scene that day and an ambulance racing to the hospital.

"I know everybody reacts or grieves differently but her father was videotaping the whole scenario, which I thought, you know, as a parent, a grandparent or something...I'd be freaking out," Severn said.

GoFundMe confirms they're investigating an online fundraiser that raised nearly $10,000 and lists the girl's parents as the organizers and recipients.

The site was taken down on Thursday, but Severn wonders why they didn't ask for help before she died.

"There's systems that can help you with that. Neighbors can help you. I could have helped out, you know, if it comes to that situation, I would have gotten her an inhaler, you know, helped out. But you don't always know what's going on," he said.

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