Woman charged with neglect in daughter's death appears in court

Authorities say 2-year-old died from gasoline inhalation

Published On: Dec 03 2012 02:28:42 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 03 2012 06:10:26 PM CST
Connie M. Hartmann
MADISON, Wis. -

A woman charged with felony child neglect in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, who officials say drank gasoline, made her initial court appearance Monday.

Connie Hartmann, 35, of Medina, was released on signature bond. She is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.

Hartmann was ordered to go through the bail monitoring program and will face a $50,000 bond if she violates the conditions of her release.

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

The criminal complaint said the 2-year-old girl and her brother were left unattended and drank from a can of gasoline.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office said Hartmann was taken to jail early Thursday morning after she was arrested in connection with a domestic incident at her home at 1128 Berlin Road in Medina Township.

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 reveals 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.

Hartmann is due back in court on Dec. 18.