[Audio] Charges Filed in Trade Lake Camp Death

Monday, September 22nd, 2008 at 9:07 am
Trade Lake Camp Director Peggy Hjelseth, Image: Burnett County Sentinel

Trade Lake Camp Director Peggy Hjelseth, Image: Burnett County Sentinel

Charges against Trade Lake Camp Director, Peggy Hjelseth, 67, were filed Friday in Burnett County for the July 17th death of mentally disabled camper Shirley Meade, 49.

Hjelseth faces two felony charges. Count one is Recklessly Subject an Individual at Risk to Abuse-Cause Death, which is a class C Felony and carries a penalty of up to 40-years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Count two is 2nd Degree Wreckless Homicide, a class D felony. If Hjelseth is convicted of count two, she could spend up to 25-years behind bars and a $100,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint, a camp employee told investigators that Hjelseth admitted to giving Meade the wrong dosage of medication. Allegedly, Hjelseth gave Meade Clozapine, which was intended for another camper. The employee says Hjelseth realized the mistake within 30 minutes but did not seek medical advice because she feared the camp would lose its license and shut down.

Police say that Meade suffered additional injuries when she tried to stand up, but fell during what is described as a drug induced sleep. caused by the medication. She hit her head and suffered blunt force injuries. The camp employee told police that Hjelseth believe Meade could sleep off the medications, and when she died, told the employee not to mention the mistake with the medication.

Medical Examiner, Mike Maloney, confirmed through an autopsy that the cause of Meade’s death was a wrongful dose of 125 mg of Clozapine.

Hjelseth is due in court on October 8th at 1 p.m.

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