RUTLAND, VT. – A daycare worker was arrested in connection with the death of a 6-month-old baby girl.
On Thursday, January 24, 2019, rescue crews responded to the in-home day-care facility on North Street in Rutland City. When they arrived they found the baby, Harper Rose Briar, unresponsive. The baby girl was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Detectives from the Rutland City Police Department began the investigation with the assistance of the Vermont State Police and Vermont Department for Children and Families. The investigation included an autopsy.
The preliminary investigation did not list her death as suspicious. Stacey L. Vaillancourt, 53, of Rutland, and operator of the daycare, was arrested for manslaughter and cruelty to a child on Monday, March 18, 2019. The final autopsy toxicology testing determined that the baby had a high concentration of diphenhydramine in her body. Diphenhydramine is the active, sedating ingredient in over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl.
The autopsy determined that Harper Briar died as a result of diphenhydramine intoxication and the manner of death is listed as a homicide. “The autopsy report noted that diphenhydramine is not to be used on infants absent an order from a physician,” Vermont State Police said. “Investigators determined there was no physician order regarding diphenhydramine for Harper Briar.” It was also determined that Vaillancourt was the sole person to provide care to Harper Briar for the three days preceding her death.
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