SOHO — A baby boy died after his heart stopped at an unlicensed SoHo day care center Monday afternoon, according to officials and sources.
Karl Towndrow, who was 3 months old, of Brooklyn Heights, was transported from SoHo Child Care at 69 Greene St. at about 12:13 p.m. to Lenox Hill Hospital and died about an hour later, according to the NYPD and sources.
Towndrow's mother had dropped off the child for the first time at the day care Monday morning with a bottle of breast milk, sources said. She told workers she would be back at noon to feed the child.
Someone at the day care then fed the child, presumably with her breast milk, and then put him down for a nap, according to sources. The baby then went into cardiac arrest.
There were no signs of trauma on the child and the city medical examiner will determine the cause of death, police said.
Parents entering and leaving the second-floor facility on Monday said they were told to come pick up their children early, shortly after noon, but were unaware of the death.
There were 14 other children in the day care, which is run by Maryellen Strautmanis out of her apartment, at the time of the incident.
In addition to the NYPD, the Manhattan District Attorney, the Department of Health, the Administration for Childrens Services and the Department of Buildings are all investigating the incident.
“We are saddened and concerned about this infant death, and are working closely with law enforcement and ACS on an investigation,” said the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in a statement.
Stratmanis started running the day care in the 4,000-square-foot loft in 2001, according to a story in The New York Times.
In 2005, Maryellen Strautmanis' husband, Vincent Strautmanis, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his role in a scheme to siphon $950,000 from JP Morgan Chase Bank, court filings show. He was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and three years of supervised release. He was also required to make restitution payments.
At his sentencing, he asked a judge for leniency, noting that he was a devoted husband to six children. He said he suffered from a drinking problem and from trauma related to the Sept. 11 attacks.
That same year, he and his wife filed for bankruptcy, records show. She claimed to take home $4,000 a month from her day care business.
The day care center's website was taken down early Monday afternoon.
A worker at the child care center said they didn’t know anything about the incident and then hung up the phone.
Police were seen helping worried-looking parents carry strollers down from the second floor.
A stunned Brooklyn Heights neighbor described Karl as a "beautiful baby boy" who loved to be walked around the neighborhood.
"I'm shocked," said Patrick Barth, 69, who lives next door to Karl's parents. "What a horror story."
Friends of the family arrived at the Brooklyn brownstone Monday evening to deliver flowers to the grieving parents.
"Karl's parents appreciate the kind words and condolences they have received. He was full of love and was treasured by all that met him," the friends said in a statement on behalf of the family. "At this time, his parents ask for privacy as they grieve his short, wonderful life."
With reporting by Murray Weiss, Ben Fractenberg, Gwynne Hogan and James Fanelli.