Lincolnshire day care where child died open for business

  • Melissa M. Calusinski

    Melissa M. Calusinski

  • Parents drop off their children at Minee Subee in the Park Day Care Center in Lincolnshire as Lincolnshire police stand watch outside.

      Parents drop off their children at Minee Subee in the Park Day Care Center in Lincolnshire as Lincolnshire police stand watch outside. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Updated 1/19/2009 10:33 AM

The Lincolnshire day care center where a toddler died last week is open for business.

Children were dropped off at the Minee Subee day care facility in Lincolnshire Monday, while two police cars sat parked on the street, blocking the media from walking onto the lot.


Officials at the day-care facility announced they would be open this morning, despite being the location where a toddler tragically died last week.

"Although a tragic incident, (it was) an isolated incident," lawyer Matt Walsh said. "We will be open and transparent with any parent to answer any questions they may have and to reassure them that we have the highest standards for our facility and that the safety of their children is our highest goal."

Melissa M. Calusinski of Carpentersville, a 22-year-old teacher's assistant at the Minee Subee in the Park day care center, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. She's accused of throwing 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan of Deerfield to the floor on Wednesday because she was angry about other kids at the center.

The impact caused Benjamin's fatal injuries, including a broken skull, authorities said.

Calusinski, of the 500 block of Apache Avenue, remained jailed late Sunday in Lake County on $5 million bond. She is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

A man who answered the door at the Calusinski home declined to comment about the murder charges.

Lincolnshire police, the Lake County Major Crime Task Force and the Illinois Department of Chidren and Family Services are investigating Benjamin's death.

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Police said Calusinski picked up Benjamin after a snack to clean him up. She was frustrated with other noisy children in the room, however, and threw Benjamin to the ground in anger, police Investigator Adam Hyde said.

No one witnessed the incident. Police and paramedics were called to the scene later after Calusinski discovered Benjamin was unresponsive, Hyde said.

The boy later was pronounced dead at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

A coroner's autopsy conducted Thursday revealed the fatal head injuries.

Hyde, a 10-year police veteran, described the murder as "the most horrible case I've ever seen in my career."

"I hope to God I never have to see another one," he said.

Before last week, Calusinski did not have a criminal record and had cleared a background check when she was hired at Minee Subee, police said.


Calusinski's MySpace page depicts her as a young woman who loves her day care job and baby sitting.

Neighbors of Calusinski, who lives with her parents and who is listed on a Barrington High School alumni Web site as a 2005 graduate, were stunned by her arrest.

"She's a good neighbor," said Lolita Soto, who lives next to the Calusinski family. "We've never had problems with them."

Members of the Kingan family could not be reached Sunday. Benjamin's funeral, which had been scheduled for this past Saturday but was canceled, is now planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Kolssak Funeral Home, 189 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Wheeling. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

A neighbor of the Kingans who declined to give her name described Benjamin as a "great kid" who often was spotted playing with his siblings outside this past summer.

The alleged murder is the first in Lake County this year, authorities said. It was the first homicide in Lincolnshire since last summer, police said.

Until then, the village had gone more than 20 years without a murder.

The Minee Subee facility is one of three owned by Judith and Norman Katz, according to its Web site. The others are in Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect.

Walsh, the Minee Subee lawyer, said he understands if parents are concerned about sending their children back to any of the centers Monday. Company officials are cooperating with police and the Department of Children and Family Services, he said, and will meet with investigators today and throughout the week.

Daily Herald Staff Writer Lee Filas contributed to this report.

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