BRIDGEPORT - Matthew and Michelle Seagull say their infant son was a bit of a fussy child who would not nap much. But, the boy's daycare provider had what the parents described as the "magic touch." And now police say they know why.
Adam Seagull, of Shelton, was just 4 months old when he died on March 22 while napping at the Fairfield residence of Carol Cardillo, who ran an unlicensed daycare.
Initially, Fairfield police and the boy's parents thought he passed away as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, in July, after months of testing, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide, caused by acute diphenhydramine intoxication. Essentially, he overdosed on Benadryl. And police believe Cardillo used that antihistamine to help put fussy kids she cared for to sleep.
Doctors say should never be given to children under the age of 2, like Adam. For more information on the hazards of giving cough and cold medicine to infants, read this FDA disclaimer.
In Adam's case, he had eight times the amount of the antihistamine in his system than what would be considered a "concerning" amount.
On Thursday, Cardillo, 53, of Fairfield, was arraigned on charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor. She was arrested on September 8, more than five months after the boy died.
"It (the arraignment) was the first time that we saw her since we found out the truth," said Matthew Seagull, the father of the deceased child, of Cardillo. "But, we felt that it was very important that we be there."
Cardillo, according to the warrant, told police she did not have Benadryl in her home and would not have given it to a baby. However, police say that between early 2013 and the time of the boy's death on March 22 of this year, Cardillo purchased 90 bottles of a generic form of Benadryl.
"As this goes on, we will have more to say," said Seagull. "This was only the first step. Our story will be able to come out. Don't worry."
Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Neighbors of Cardillo were not willing to talk about Mrs. Cardillo on camera, but one couple says she cared for both of their children and was excellent.