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Charges to be reissued in child neglect case

Published On: Dec 18 2012 11:45:59 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 18 2012 12:57:20 PM CST
Connie M. Hartmann
MADISON, Wis. -

Charges are being dropped so they can be reissued against a woman charged with felony child neglect in the death of her 2-year-old daughter.

The criminal complaint against Connie Hartmann, 35, of Medina, stated the 2-year-old girl and her brother were left unattended and drank from a can of gasoline.

She was also charged with felony child neglect resulting in great bodily harm to the girl's 4-year-old brother.

The Dane County District Attorney’s office said it will re-file the charges after restructuring the complaint and adding more information.

Assistant Dane County District Attorney Michael Finley told WISC-TV part of the problem is understaffing in the DA’s office and cases are being handed over to people who haven’t covered them.

Sheriff's deputies went to Hartmann's home in May after her 2-year-old daughter was found unconscious in a car, and her 4-year-old son was ill. The girl later died at a hospital.

The boy told a doctor he and his sister locked themselves in the car and drank gasoline. The boy recovered over the course of several days at University of Wisconsin Hospital before being released to foster care, where he remains.

A criminal complaint revealed the boy knew how to manipulate door locks, and at one point before the fatal incident, a neighbor had yelled at the boy for drinking gasoline.

Hartmann was arrested based on results of the girl's autopsy and statements made by Hartmann and others living in the Berlin Road home, according to investigators.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office said waiting for toxicology reports was a big reason why Hartmann wasn't arrested until seven months after the fatal incident.

Elise Schaffer, spokeswoman for the Dane County Sheriff's Office, said the toxicology reports were key factors in revealing the 2-year-old had, in fact, died from the gasoline inhalation.

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