Rutland day care owner charged with manslaughter in baby's death

Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 2:49 PM EDT
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A Vermont home child care provider is charged with manslaughter after a 6-month-old baby girl died in her care.

Stacey Vaillancourt, 53, of Rutland, pleaded not guilty in court Monday to manslaughter and cruelty to a child.

Vaillancourt runs a state certified day care on North Street and is accused of giving the child a deadly dose of drugs.

Toxicology tests found that the baby, Harper Rose Briar, had high concentrations of diphenhydramine in her body. That is the sedating ingredient in many over-the-counter cold medicines. The medical examiner says the cause of Briar's death was diphenhydramine intoxication and ruled the death a homicide.

The autopsy report noted that diphenhydramine should not be used on infants without an order from a physician. Investigators say there was no physician's order and that Vaillancourt was the only person to provide care to Briar before her death Jan. 24, which was Briar's third day attending Vaillancourt's day care facility. The facility has been shut down.

"The state is alleging that the defendant acted criminally negligent and because of that action, the child died," Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy said. "It was complicated. I reached out to Vermont State Police to assist in the matter. I want to thank the police for not hesitating and assisting, the detective in charge for doing this investigation."

Kennedy says the family is asking for privacy at this time and they want justice for Harper Rose.