BURLINGTON (CBS) — The Middlesex District Attorney’s office is moving forward with murder charges against a babysitter despite a medical examiner’s finding that a baby who died while in her care died of cardiac arrest.
Pallavi Macharla, 41, was charged over a year ago in the death of a six-month-old baby girl who prosecutors say was shaken and suffered severe injuries from blows to the head. She was also charged with operating an unlicensed day care inside her apartment.
“I’m still hurting and grieving over the death of the baby, whom I dearly loved,” Macharla said Wednesday. “I didn’t do anything to hurt the baby in any way, and I would never ever do that. I pray to God that the truth will come out in this matter.”
Macharla was initially held without bail after she was arrested a year after the baby’s death in 2015, but was later released on $25,000 bail after the State Medical Examiner’s office backed off from an initial opinion that the child was the victim of a homicide.
Macharla’s attorney, J.W. Carney, is calling on the office of Middlesex DA Marian Ryan to drop all charges against Macharla. He said he believes science has now caught up with medicine.
“This child had died from sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest,” Carney told reporters Wednesday morning.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office disputes the claims of cardiac arrest, though, and says that finding still doesn’t explain the rest of the baby’s injuries.
“She had no underlying medical conditions that would explain the fractures to her spine or the bleeding in her brain and eyes,” the Middlesex DA’s office said in a statement. “Any suggestion that there was a problem with her heart is belied by the fact that her heart was successfully transplanted into a baby who is thriving.”
Prosecutors said Tuesday are proceeding with the case because “the only plausible explanation for the death of this otherwise healthy six month old baby is the defendant’s conduct on March 27, 2014.”
Prosecutors say the baby was healthy when she was dropped off at Macharla’s apartment in the morning on that date, but became ill and vomited after eating applesauce, then stopped breathing and became unconscious.
They said Macharla, who is a licensed doctor in her native India, did not call 911 but called the baby’s mother at work, and the mother called 911 herself.
“Panic ensues, and you’re not sure what to do,” said Carney.
The baby died three days later at Children’s Hospital.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports