Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  DCI Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Thursday, December 5, 2013
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

Orange City Woman Arrested in Connection
with Death of Three-Year Old

Orange City, IOWA --- On Tuesday, October 29, 2013, Rochelle Sapp, age 33, of Orange City, Iowa, was providing day care services at her residence to three-year-old Autumn Elgersma, also of Orange City. An incident occurred in Sapp’s home which resulted in Autumn being hospitalized with severe head trauma. Autumn was initially treated for her injuries at the Orange City Hospital, but because of the severity of her injuries, she was subsequently airlifted to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Autumn died as a result of her injuries on October 31, 2013.

In autopsy was conducted by the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, Iowa, and they have now released their findings concerning Autumn’s death. The medical examiner has determined that Autumn died as a result of a blunt force head injury. Autumn’s death has been ruled a homicide.

Earlier today, the State of Iowa initiated criminal charges against Sapp. Sapp has now been charged with Murder in the First Degree, a class A felony; and Child Endangerment Resulting in Death, a class B felony. Sapp was arrested at her home this morning without incident by officers of the Orange City Police Department and taken to the Sioux County Jail where she remains. Bond has been set in the amount of $250,000. Sapp will make her initial appearance in Sioux County District Court within the next 24 hours.

The agencies involved in this investigation include the Orange City Police Department, the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, the Sioux Falls Police Department, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

It should be noted a criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is
presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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