WACO, TX (RNN) – A daycare operator was arrested and charged in the death of a 4-month-old infant in her care.
An autopsy revealed the baby died from a toxic amount of an allergy medicine called diphenydramine, which is sold under the trade name Benadryl, according to the arrest warrant.
Daycare operator Marian Bergman Fraser, 49, was arrested Thursday and charged with injury to a child causing death, a first-degree felony in Texas. Fraser was the owner and operator of the home daycare facility Spoiled Rotten, and had been the owner/operator since 1996.
The incident occurred on March 4, 2013, when 4-month old Clara Felton was dropped off at Fraser's care center by her mother.
The arrest warrant states that Clara was fed a bottle around 11:30 a.m. by Fraser and was put down for a nap following the bottle. Fraser later found the infant not breathing and unresponsive around 2:50 p.m., the warrant said. Clara was pronounced dead at a local hospital after being transported by ambulance.
The infant had been in Fraser's care for nearly seven hours by the time she died.
The arrest warrant indicates that the diphenhydramine in the infant's system was the cause of death.
"One of the effects of diphenhydramine is that it will cause drowsiness when taken," the warrant stated.
The drug is not recommended for children under 2 years old or to make children of any age sleepy. The warrant also stated that Felton's parents did not give her any of the drug before leaving her in Fraser's care, and did not give Fraser permission to do so.
Investigators were told by medical examiner Dr. Keith Pinkard that the "fast-acting" version of the drug was given to the child "while in the care of the daycare she was attending." Had she been given the medicine earlier, Pinkard said, the effects would have occurred sooner.
Fraser said she prepared the baby's bottle and put her down for a nap. Fraser also indicated that she would have been the one that administered any medications to the children in her care. She also stated to investigators that she prepared the bottles either the night before or early in the morning before any children arrived.
Investigators determined that Fraser had a sleep schedule she preferred the children to be on during her care. Fraser told investigators that children in her care normally nap for nearly three hours.
Clara may not have been the only child given diphenhydramine. According to Waco, TX, affiliate KWTX, parents of other children previously in the care of Fraser had their children independently tested for the drug. Many of the tests came back positive.
Spoiled Rotten Daycare is now closed and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services are in the process of revoking the permit from Fraser. Texas DFPS also cited the childcare center for administering medication without authorization on April 30, KWTX reports.
Fraser was released from McLennan County Jail Thursday afternoon after posting a $25,000 bail. It is unclear if further charges will be filed on Fraser.
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