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Published May 16, 2013, 03:54 PM

Thief River Falls daycare owner accused of beating child

The father of a four-year-old boy in Thief River Falls say a daycare owner there beat his son this week, leaving him bruised and black-eyed.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

The father of a four-year-old boy in Thief River Falls say a daycare owner there beat his son this week, leaving him bruised and black-eyed.

Police and a prosecutor confirmed Thursday an investigation into allegations against Heidi Senum is expected to result in charges filed against the daycare owner as soon as Friday.

Senum referred questions from the Herald to her attorney, Kevin Duffy, but did say she had not yet talked to police. Duffy did not return a call immediately from the Herald today.

James Sundstrom contacted the Herald Thursday, saying he’s concerned other children might be in danger, or had also been hit previously by Senum.

He said on Tuesday Senum called his fiancée and his son’s mother, Melissa Loons, and said she had better pick up her son “before I hurt him.”

When Loons arrived, the boy was waiting in the entry of Senum’s home daycare, crying with a bloody nose. One of Senum’s daughters was with the boy and told Loons, “My mom held him down and hit him,” Sundstrom said. Loons asked to see Senum, who then told Loons, ‘I hit him,’” Sundstrom said.

His son had two black eyes and “a huge bruise on his butt which is in the form of a hand print,” had been slapped several times and had bruising under both eyes and on his left cheek, he said.

Still, “it could have been worse,” Sundstrom said of his son’s injuries. “He’s doing OK.”

His son was treated and tested at the Sanford medical center in Thief River Falls.

“He did have a CT scan,” Sundstrom said, and the preliminary results looked good. Doctors also ruled out a concussion.

But he wonders about other children. Senum’s daycare has been licensed for up to 12 children and it appeared about eight other children were there while his son attended, Sundstrom said.

Officials say Senum’s child care license has been suspended.

But Sundstrom said Loons learned from a colleague at work who also sends a child to Senum’s daycare that Senum contacted parents who had stopped bringing their children this week and invited them to bring them back Friday.

“That’s not right,” Sundstrom said. “I am just concerned that there are children that have been abused by Heidi before.”

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