Mom accused of murder for leaving toddler in a hot car, arrested on drug charges in neighboring state

mother arrested on drug charges in wisconsin wanted for death of her  year old in minnesota
Source: Chippewa County Sheriff's Office, Unsplash

Jun. 17 2021, Published 1:37 p.m. ET

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A 29-year-old woman facing drug charges in Wisconsin could soon be taken to Minnesota to face charges in connection to the murder of her toddler.

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According to authorities, Nikki Jean Potvin, 29, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of her 1-year-old in Minnesota in early November 2020.

Police said Potvin lived in a very cluttered area with “burnt garbage, waste and abandoned household items scattered throughout” the property, which included 12 campers and 30 vehicles.

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Potvin told officials she fell asleep in an SUV and when she woke up, her 1-year-old daughter was sleeping in her car seat.

Potvin got out of the vehicle and went into one of the campers, leaving her daughter in the vehicle, which was running with the heat on, police said.

An unknown amount of time passed when a man asked Potvin to borrow her SUV, which she agreed, and told the man her child was sleeping in the car, authorities said.

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This happened between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2020, and the man said the car was warm, “as if the heat was left on high,” police said.

According to officials, a witness said the child had been in the car for four hours.

At that time, the man took the child out of the SUV and put the toddler in a camper with Potvin, but he believed the child was already dead, authorities said.

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Potvin took the child to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, officials said.

An autopsy showed the toddler's cause of death to be “hyperthermia due to exposure to heat,” according to authorities.

On June 9, Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk told News 18 Potvin was arrested on meth charges and misappropriating an ID in Wisconsin.

Potvin was officially charged with three counts of misappropriating an ID to obtain money, two counts of identity theft to obtain money or credit, possessing meth and possessing drug paraphernalia on June 15, police said.

She is being held in the Chippewa County Jail until an extradition hearing on June 17 so she can return to Minnesota and face the murder charge, officials said.

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