State Police allegedly found bloody blanket and pillow in Cambridge toddler’s crib
Middlesex District Attorney’s Office
MEDFORD – Blood-stained baby wipes were discovered in 1-year-old Rehma Sabir’s bedroom, and State Police also found a blood-stained pillow and blanket in the toddler’s crib, according to court records obtained by the Globe today.
Rehma Sabir died Jan. 16 and Middlesex prosecutors have charged Irish nanny Aisling McCarthy Brady with assaulting the child on Jan. 14, the same day a concerned neighbor reported hearing the child crying for nearly 90 minutes before she slowly settled into silence.
“By 8:36 a.m., [the neighbor] could hear the baby crying inside,’’ according to a summary of the case against Brady filed in Cambridge District Court. “The crying continued and at around 9:30 a.m., the crying changed to extreme crying.’’
Concerned, the neighbor walked downstairs and knocked on the apartment door “for a minute and a half, timing the knocks and then pounds on the door in between the gasping so it would be heard by someone inside,’’ prosecutors said.
But no one answered the door, and the neighbor returned to her own unit. “From her apartment, she heard the baby cry for ten more minutes,’’ prosecutors wrote. “It started to slow and settle down before stopping completely.’’
Authorities allege that Brady violently assaulted the infant sometime Jan. 14, causing massive brain injuries. Doctors at Children’s Hospital Boston also discovered that the girl had fractures to her left ulna, or elbow bone; her left tibia, or her shin bone; and left fibula, another leg bone, that were between two weeks and two months old. The child also had compression fractures to her vertebrae in multiple locations.
“Dr. Alice Newton, the medical director of Children’s Child protection team, diagnosed Rehma as a victim of abusive head trauma given the constellation of injuries and the absence of a history of major trauma such as a high impact motor vehicle collision,’’ prosecutors wrote.
Newton described “abusive head trauma’’ as the violent shaking of a toddler, a direct blow to the child’s head or a slamming a child into a hard object or surface. Newton, according to prosecutors, concluded that there was “no other medical explanation for Rehma’s injuries or death.’’
The child, according to the doctor, would have not appeared to be in normal health and would not have been able to “track people with her eyes, sit on her own, play with toys, hold a bottle, drink a bottle or eat food.’’
Brady, a native of Ireland who is in the country illegally, is being held on $500,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty Tuesday to assault and battery charges. Her attorney, Melinda Thompson, said in court Tuesday that Brady played no role in the infant’s death.
Prosecutors also disclosed that Brady was in charge of a second infant on Jan. 14 because Rehma Sabir’s parents, Sameer Sabir and Nada Siddiqui, were part of a nanny share. The second child, a 7-month-old boy, was dropped off around 12:20 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Brady told the parent that Sabir was asleep in her room; the parent did not look into Sabir’s bedroom.
The second child was unharmed, prosecutors said.
According to the report, Brady arrived at the Cambridge home around 7:50 a.m. and awoke Rehma Sabir at 8:15 a.m., describing her to State Police as “cranky as usual.”
“By Ms. Brady’s own account, Rehma continued to play, eat, track her with her eyes and appear otherwise happy and normal at least until the 1:30 p.m. feeding,’’ prosecutors wrote. “Based on this reported history, the fatal injuries were inflicted sometime during or after this feeding and prior to finding Rehma seizing in her crib at 4:30 p.m.’’
In her interview with State Police, Brady said Rehma had napped from about 10:20 a.m. until about 1 p.m. At that time, Brady put the toddler in her high chair to feed her lunch. The nanny described the toddler as a “fussy eater who sometimes held food in her mouth for up to an hour.’’
The nanny told investigators that the child had two or three spoonfuls of potato and eggs, along with a bottle. Brady briefly stepped out of the room, and when she returned, she found the infant “slouched’’ in her chair with her eyes half-open, Brady said.
Brady told police she put the infant back into her crib to resume napping, leaving her there until around 4:15 p.m. when she became concerned with the duration of the nap and tried to waken the child.
Brady noticed that Rehma was clenching her fist and her arms and legs were stiff. She picked Rehma up and she appeared limp,’’ State Police wrote. “Brady got a wet cloth and placed it on Rehma’s head.’’
Brady contacted the child’s father, who told her to call 911. At about the same time, the child’s mother returned home.
According to prosecutors, Brady was the only adult present with Rehma Sabir after 1 p.m., which is when they allege the fatal blows were delivered.
When State Police examined the couple’s apartment Jan. 17, they found the blood-stained materials. They also found damage to the drywall.
“We noted the wall directly next to the changing table had a piece of drywall/plaster missing ... consistent with it being damaged by forceful contact with the corner of the changing table,’’ State Police wrote.John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.