Woman Is Arrested After Death of Infant in Her Care

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A North Hollywood woman was booked on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter after a 14-month-old boy left in her care died and his twin brother became ill after both were given two cold medications, one of which had an expiration date more than a decade old, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

Melvine Kaiserauer, 42, was released from custody Wednesday night after posting $5,000 bail, according to Los Angeles Police Detective Wayne Wealer. She was booked after the death of the infant, Christopher Collins, he said.

Christopher's twin brother, whose name was not released, was reported in good condition Thursday at Valley Presbyterian Hospital, a hospital spokesman said. He initially had been listed in critical condition.

On Wednesday, the boys had been left in the care of Kaiserauer and their father, Roger Collins, 24, of Van Nuys, according to Wealer. Kaiserauer apparently was a friend of the Collins family, but did not baby-sit the twins on a regular basis, he said.

Wealer said that at about 10:15 a.m., emergency personnel received a call from Roger Collins' brother, who was also in Kaiserauer's apartment. The brother, whose name was not released, called after noticing the boys appeared to be ill, he said.

When paramedics arrived, Christopher was found in full cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead shortly before 11 a.m. at Medical Center of North Hollywood. His brother was taken to the same hospital and later transferred to Valley Presbyterian.

Wealer said the boys were given two cold medications because they showed cold symptoms. One of the drugs can be purchased over the counter, while the other can only be obtained through a doctor's prescription.

Both drugs had expired--the prescription medicine more than 10 years ago, he said.

Wealer declined to identify what drugs that doctors found in the hospitalized infant's blood. A coroner's spokesman said an autopsy on Christopher Collins may be performed today, but it could be a week or more before a final autopsy report is available.

Kaiserauer is scheduled to appear in court on the involuntary manslaughter charge March 13, Wealer said. Roger Collins was not arrested.

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