PRIMGHAR, Iowa -- A Sheldon, Iowa, man has pleaded not guilty to charges of causing injuries that led to the death of his infant daughter.
Lawrence Ruotolo Jr., 20, entered his written plea Monday in O'Brien County District Court to two counts of child endangerment. His trial was scheduled for Aug. 10.
He and the girl's mother, Brittanee Baker, 21, of Sheldon, were arrested in March. Baker has yet to be arraigned on two counts of child endangerment.
According to court documents, Ruotolo was caring for the child on July 26 at the family's home when the child began crying and screaming and Ruotolo was unable to quiet her. He is accused of losing his temper and pushing the girl's face into the floor and "other abusive physical mechanisms."
The child sustained a large abrasion and bruising on her forehead and bruising inside and outside both ears and on her neck and redness on her right eye. Baker took the child to the emergency room, and the child was treated and released.
The following day, the child was again in Ruotolo's care when she was found with no pulse and was not breathing. She was taken to the emergency room and then airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital, where she died on July 31. The death was caused by "a suffocation event of an indeterminate nature," court documents said.