A Vermont day care center has been arrested for the death of a six-month-old baby after giving the infant an overdose of diphenhydramine, a sedative common in over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl.
“The state alleges that the accused sedated an otherwise beautiful, happy and healthy six-month-old child to the point that this baby could not lift his head and died,” said Rosemary Kennedy, Rutland County State Attorney. Recount The Associated Press. “From the state’s point of view, it’s about as serious a charge as the one we’re seeing in Vermont. “
Following the January 24 death of Harper Rose Briar, Stacey Vaillancourt, 53, has been charged with manslaughter and child cruelty. The infant, who was found unconscious at Vaillancourt Home Day Care in Rutland, Vermont, was rushed to hospital before passing away after just three days under Vaillancourt’s supervision.
According to police reports, the autopsy revealed that Harper had high levels of diphenhydramine in his body. The sedative ingredient should only be used with a doctor’s prescription, which authorities say Vaillancourt did not have. As a result, Harper’s death was deemed a homicide.
In a Facebook post, mom Marissa Briar wrote: “You drop your babies off thinking they’ll be safe for the day, you trust someone to take care of your baby and love it like yours . I can’t tell you how hard it is… how I’m going to wake up each morning knowing my baby girl isn’t here with me. My heart was broken. Part of me is completely gone.
To raise money for legal fees for Marissa and her husband Blake, a family friend set up a GoFundMe page. “Harper Rose was perfect,” describes the woman. “She was a beautiful, vibrant little girl. His smile lit up the room.
Vaillancourt pleaded not guilty on Monday and was released on $ 25,000 bail. If found guilty, she faces up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and up to 10 years for child cruelty.