UPDATE: Guilty plea to manslaughter in death at Watertown daycare

March 17, 2023
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–A Watertown woman charged with murder in the death of a 16 month-old boy at a local daycare pleaded guilty to one count of First Degree Manslaughter during a change of plea hearing this week.

In exchange for the guilty plea, other counts against Amanda Walder (pictured), including Second Degree Murder and Aggravated Battery of an Infant, were dropped by prosecutors.

Police and medical personnel were called to Walder’s home at 214 15th Street Northwest in Watertown on the afternoon of July 14, 2021 on a report of an unconcious child.

The boy, Liam Koistinen, was taken to Prairie Lakes Hospital where a doctor noted a brain bleed and suspicion of possible abuse.

Liam died that night at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Walder told police she had been “firm” with Liam, put him down for a nap, and that she could have hit his head on the frame of the bed, but that it would have been unintentional.

A sentencing date has not been set. Judge Carmen Means ordered a pre-sentence investigation that is expected to take 6 to 8 weeks to complete.