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Minnesota woman charged with manslaughter in connection with her son's death

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Less than three weeks after her husband Tylar Hokanson was convicted of murdering her 17-month old son Nicholas, Melissa Hokanson is now charged in connection with the boy's death.

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The Dakota County attorney's office Tuesday charged Hokanson, 19, of rural Dakota County, with one county of manslaughter in the second degree - child neglect (felony), and two counts of neglect of a child (one a felony, the other a gross misdemeanor).

Nicholas died June 23, 2009, in Wisconsin.

According to the criminal complaint, Nicholas Miller, 18 months, was in pain from a broken back, which made it difficult to walk or even breathe. His brain was bleeding and he had other wounds on his body. For four days, he received no medical help from his family.

On June 23, Nicholas turned blue as his stepfather and step-grandmother tried to revive him on a picnic table in Maiden Rock, Wis. They called 911 for help. The ambulance arrived 23 minutes later. When the boy arrived at the hospital in Durand, he was pronounced dead.

According to the complaint, both Tyler and Melissa Hokanson acknowledge watching the victim decline in health over a four-day period.

Melissa Hokanson said, "Nicholas appeared to lose color, had difficulty in movement, and had no appetite."

During the weekend of June 20 and 21, 2009 Nicholas apparently did not eat, did not participate in activities and had difficulty breathing. Neither Hokanson sought medical attention for the child.

Nicholas' health did not improve during the next two days. The Hokansons had taken him to Tyler Hokanson's mother and stepfather's residence in Maiden Rock, Wis. There, according to the complaint, Nicholas continued to have difficulty breathing, and appeared to be in discomfort and pain. He did not sleep that night.

The following morning, June 23, Melissa administered a nebulizer treatment, believing he was having an asthma attack. She did not seek medical assistance.

Later that day, Nicholas turned blue and family members began to perform CPR on him. He could not be revived.

Melissa Hokanson made her first court appearance Tuesday. She was released on a number of conditions and will make her next court appearance March 14.

The Hastings (Minn.) Star-Gazette is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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