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Moorhead man pleads guilty to manslaughter in daughter’s death in van

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MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Moorhead man pleaded guilty Friday morning to a manslaughter charge in the death of his infant daughter, admitting he left her in a hot van for several hours in June while he was in charge of his six children, all under 7 years old.

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Andrew Sandstrom, 24, testified Friday in Clay County District Court, admitting he caused the death of his 5-month-old daughter, Christiana, when he left her in the family van parked outside the family’s apartment June 11.

When asked whether he accepted responsibility for the child’s death, Sandstrom replied, “Yes. I’m her father – I should have been the first one to protect her,” before breaking down in tears.

Clay County Attorney Brian Melton said he will recommend one year in jail for Sandstrom, rather than the four years in prison state sentencing guidelines suggest for a second-degree manslaughter conviction by an offender who has no prior criminal record.

Melton said he suspects Sandstrom’s attorney will seek a lighter sentence.

Sandstrom’s sentencing is set for Dec. 13.

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