Brooklyn Heights

Fundraiser for Brooklyn Heights baby who died in SoHo day care

July 14, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Karl Towndrow died at an unlicensed day care on Monday. Friends have started a fundraiser for the family. Photo courtesy of the Towndrow family/GoFundMe
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Friends and co-workers have started a fundraiser on the GoFundMe website to help the Brooklyn Heights parents of a 3-month-old baby boy who died in an unlicensed SoHo day care on July 13 – his first day at the facility.

Supporters have gathered to support little Karl’s grieving parents, Lee Towndrow and Amber Scorah  of Remsen Street, and help them cope with funeral expenses and other needs.

On the fundraising site, they write, “Karl was beloved by his parents, who doted on him every moment. He was their joy and brought happiness to everyone who met him. His family and friends are grieving but are taking comfort in knowing they knew this sweet, innocent soul, even if it was all too brief.”

Almost $7,000 was pledged within the first four hours of the notice being posted. (UPDATE: More than $50,000 was donated in the first day of the appeal.)

After going into cardiac arrest around noon on Monday at SoHo Child Care at 69 Greene Street, Karl was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital, but could not be saved.

He was discovered unresponsive about 15 minutes into his midday nap, police told the Daily News. The day care owner, Maryellen Strautmanis, said she fed Karl around 10:30 a.m, using a bottle of milk his mother left for him, though his mom was planning to drop by and feed him at lunch time.

Karl showed no signs of an airway obstruction, bruises or trauma, the News reported.

An NYPD spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday that the Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death, and the investigation is ongoing.

In a 2005 New York Times real estate story about their 4,000-foot loft, the Times wrote, “Maryellen has the sort of parenting smarts that make other parents take out their notebooks.”

The Canadian-born owner of the day care writes on Yelp that she established SoHo Daycare in 2001 because she found herself “in the position of having to become the breadwinner in the family, due to the uncertainty and eventual closure of the company my husband worked for.”

However, the News reports that Strautmanis’ husband, Vincent Strautmanis, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2005 for his role in stealing $950,000 from JP Morgan Chase. The couple filed for bankruptcy that year.

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