An Irish woman in Boston who was accused of causing the death of a child under her care earned relief last week when prosecutors dropped all charges against her due to medical expert witness reports that cast doubt on the infant’s cause of death. Although the child’s death was initially ruled a homicide by medical examiners, expert witness analysis cast sufficient doubt into the cause of death determination that the defendant was released from custody and cleared of wrongdoing.
Irish Nanny Jailed for Causing Death of Infant
Aisling Brady McCarthy, now 37, was arrested in January, 2013 for allegedly causing the death of a one-year-old Rehma Sabir who was under her care. McCarthy, an Irish national living in the US, was the girl’s nanny when the child died of apparent head injuries shortly after her 1st birthday. According to prosecutors, the girl suffered from hemorrhaging and swelling of the brain and had evidence of multiple bone fractures. Police also found blood stained baby wipes, blankets, and pillows in the child’s bedroom during the course of their investigation.
McCarthy was jailed immediately after her arrest, and has spent the past two years behind bars awaiting trial for murder. Shortly after the investigation into Sabir’s death, a Massachusetts medical examiner examined the evidence and ruled the child was a victim of homicide. According to the examiner, Sabir showed signs of shaken baby syndrome – which pointed police and prosecutors to her nanny. McCarthy was arrested and formally charged with murder despite her insistence of innocence.
During the past two years, attorneys for McCarthy have worked to gather expert witness analysis of Sabir’s death in an effort to convince prosecutors that the infant suffered from severe medical complications that suggest the cause of death was accidental rather than intentional.
Prosecutors Drop Case against Boston Nanny after Reviewing Expert Witness Reports
After more than two years of investigation, the office of the Massachusetts medical examiner was provided with expert witness reports submitted by medical experts who reviewed Sabir’s death and cast doubt on the conclusion that the child died by the defendant’s actions. According to the expert witness report, Rehma Sabir had a history of bruising and was prone to easy bleeding when exposed even to relatively minor trauma. The expert medical report submitted to prosecutors and the state examiner suggested the child may have had an undiagnosed disorder which caused her death.
After reviewing the expert reports, the medical examiner words were included in the prosecutors statement to the press, “Given these uncertainties, I am no longer convinced that the subdural hemorrhage in this case could only have been caused by abusive/inflicted head trauma, and I can no longer rule the manner of death as a homicide … I believe that enough evidence has been presented to raise the possibility that the bleeding could have been related to an accidental injury in a child with a bleeding risk or possibly could have even been a result of an undefined natural disease.”
Given the medical examiner’s change of opinion on Rehma Sabir’s death, state prosecutors dropped all charges against Aisling McCarthy.