Daycare Provider’s Assault Lands Infant in Coma

A former Minnesota daycare provider, Michelle Maree Holte, 59, has been sentenced to over seven years in prison for causing severe injuries to a six-month-old baby boy, Nolan Sapp, which resulted in a coma. Holte pleaded guilty to a first-degree assault charge in October 2023.

The incident occurred at Holte’s daycare in Champlin, a city located approximately 20 miles north of Minneapolis. Nolan’s parents noticed something was wrong with their son’s eyes when they picked him up from the daycare on October 18, 2023. His eyes were turned to the left and remained closed during the ride home. Once home, they noticed his eyes were still veering left and bouncing, his limbs felt abnormal, and he was unable to turn his head.

The parents immediately rushed Nolan to a nearby hospital. Medical records reveal that a procedure to remove part of the baby’s skull was performed to alleviate extreme brain swelling. Nolan was then placed in a medically-induced coma to manage his injuries, which included a subdural hemorrhage, severe brain injury, and retinal hemorrhages. The records also indicate that Nolan’s injuries will likely result in long-term medical complications.

During the sentencing hearing, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Dan Allard stated that Holte’s actions were nearly equivalent to murder. He expressed shock that Nolan survived the ordeal. Nolan’s mother, Lisa Sapp, described the past seven months as the worst of their lives, calling the incident every parent’s worst nightmare.

Holte initially misled Nolan’s mother about the incident, claiming another child had picked up and dropped Nolan. However, another child at the daycare later told investigators that Holte had been rough with the baby. The child demonstrated what they had witnessed by dropping a baby doll onto a table.

Holte eventually confessed to handling Nolan more roughly than usual, attributing her actions to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. She expressed remorse and apologized during her sentencing hearing. The presiding judge, Jay M. Quam, acknowledged the severity of the boy’s injuries but did not believe they were inflicted with malice. He expressed regret that he could not provide justice for the family.

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to assist with Nolan’s medical expenses.