A Connecticut day care worker has been arrested, accused of killing an infant boy by plying him with toxic amounts of the drug popularly known as Benadryl, authorities say.
The 4-month-old boy, Adam Seagull, died on March 22 after being found unresponsive at an unlicensed day care in Fairfield. He was transported to St. Vincent’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators initially found no evidence of wrongdoing, according to the child’s family, who thought he died of sudden infant death syndrome.
Then in June, the chief medical examiner determined the baby had died of acute diphenhydramine intoxication. Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine drug packaged in popular over-the-counter brands like Benadryl, are not to be administered to children under the age of 2, manufacturers warn.
Fairfield police on Thursday arrested Carol Cardillo, the 53-year-old woman who lives in the Edgewood Road home where she allegedly ran the unlicensed day care. The facility has since been closed.
She’s been charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor. Attorney information for the woman wasn’t immediately clear. No one answered at the home Thursday night.
Adam’s father, Matthew Seagull, said learning their son was allegedly killed by his own caretaker was “like he died all over again.”
“We trusted our precious son Adam to Carol’s care,” he told reporters Thursday. “She violated our trust and the trust of so many parents. The idea that she was so lazy and thoughtless to use medication to put children to sleep is horrifying.”
Seagull recalled the last morning he prepared Adam for day care.
“I just sort of looked at him and decided to take a picture. I don’t know why, something came over me,” he said. “I took a picture and it was the last moment we spent together.”
He said he got a call from his father-in-law and rushed to the hospital. His son died by the time he arrived.
“I looked at my father-in-law, who was in the front of the door, who is particularly stoic, and when I walked to the front of the room, he had tears in his eyes,” Seagull said. “I didn’t need anyone else to tell me what had happened. He was gone.”
The boy’s mother, Michelle Seagull, called Adam “the light of my life.”
“He had the most infectious smile and he just lit up a room when anyone ever saw him,” she said. “He was sweet and right around the time he died, he was really starting to come into his own, we started to see the personality that Adam was going to have as an older child.”
“I think I permanently have a hole in my heart and I don’t think I will ever feel whole again,” she said.