Murder charge dropped against Irish nanny in US girl’s death

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(AP) — A murder charge has been dropped against an Irish nanny accused of killing a 1-year-old girl in her care after a state medical examiner reversed a finding that the child’s death was a homicide caused by shaken baby syndrome, prosecutors announced Monday.

Aisling Brady McCarthy, 37, was charged with killing Rehma Sabir in Cambridge in 2013. McCarthy insisted she was innocent and her lawyers vigorously challenged the medical examiner’s findings that Rehma died of complications of blunt-force head injuries.

In a written statement, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced that the murder charge was dropped because the medical examiner issued an amended ruling changing the manner of death to “undetermined.”

Ryan said the medical examiner found Rehma had past medical issues and may have had some type of undiagnosed disorder.

“Based on an assessment of the present state of the evidence, including the amended ruling from the Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy, the Commonwealth cannot meet its burden of proof,” Ryan said.

McCarthy came to the U.S. about 13 years ago under a visa waiver program that entitled her to stay 90 days. She has been living illegally in the United States. It was not immediately clear if she would be deported. Her lawyers did not return calls seeking comment, but they planned a late afternoon news conference.

She spent almost 2 1/2 years in jail until she was released on bail in May.

McCarthy had been Rehma’s nanny for about six months at the time she died in January 2013.

In the new ruling, the medical examiner said the decision to change the cause and manner of death came after additional materials were reviewed, including expert witness reports from both the defense and prosecution, additional transcripts of police interviews, transcripts of grand jury testimony, additional medical records and additional lab testing related to the girl’s death.

“These additional materials put forth several different and often conflicting opinions about the cause of Rehma’s death,” the report states, according to excerpts contained in Ryan’s statement.

“In particular the overall state of Rehma’s health and her past medical issues raise the possibility that she had some type of disorder that was not able to be completely diagnosed prior to her death,” the report states.

The report said that Rehma had a history of bruising and that she might have been prone to easy bleeding with relatively minor trauma.

“Given these uncertainties, I am no longer convinced that the subdural hemorrhage in this case could only have been caused by abusive/inflicted head trauma, and I can no longer rule the manner of death as a homicide,” the medical examiner wrote in the report.

“I believe that enough evidence has been presented to raise the possibility that the bleeding could have been related to an accidental injury in a child with a bleeding risk or possibly could have even been a result of an undefined natural disease. As such I am amending the cause and manner of death to reflect this uncertainty.”

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