Parents speak out after death of infant at Vermont daycare


RUTLAND, Vt. (NEWS10) – More details are being released about the circumstances surrounding a six-month-old found unresponsive at her Vermont daycare.

Recently released autopsy results show that she had ingested high concentrations of diphenhydramine, which is the active, sedating ingredient in over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl.

Mom and dad say their baby girl Harper Rose Briar was 100 percent healthy the morning of January 24th when she was dropped off at daycare. They never told the daycare provider to give her any medication nor were they asked for permission, so it came as a shock when they learned the results of the autopsy.

Harper had just started crawling, holding her bottle on her own and got her first tooth.

Blake was working and Marissa decided to go back to school full time for social work at Castleton University but she spent three months vetting daycare providers to make sure she chose the right one.

She says it was hard enough dropping Harper off with another person, counting down the minutes until they were together again. On the third day of daycare, Marissa was just leaving school on her way to the daycare to pick Harper up when she got the call.

“When you have a child that can’t talk or stand up for themselves, you don’t know what’s going on and the person you think you can trust, they could be doing something you don’t know about. Unfortunately for us, it makes us never want to use a day care again,” Marissa said.

The autopsy results came in about a week ago. For the last two months, they’ve been waiting for answers and deep down she knew something was off, especially when the daycare provider never even showed up at the hospital to check and see how baby Harper was doing.

Stacey Vaillencourt, 53, was arrested Monday after the autopsy results were released. She pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and cruelty to a child.

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