The death of a seven-month-old baby in an allegedly unlicensed daycare provider’s house on a Hawaii military base is now considered a homicide, sources said.
The child, Abigail Lobisch, was found dead on Feb. 24 in the home of a Navy wife on Aliamanu Military Reservation.
The Hawaii medical examiner’s office has reportedly completed its investigation into the death, according to one person familiar with the investigation, but an official with that office told Military Times the information cannot be released at this time.
Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the case remains classified as an “unattended death."
Hawaii News Now, a local TV news organization, first reported on July 5 that the baby’s death is being handled as a homicide investigation.
Abigail’s mother, Anna, told Military Times that she “would rather not comment at this time.”
On a Facebook page set up to provide information after the baby’s death, a close friend of the child’s family provided an update after the Hawaii News Now report. “We had to keep quiet about many things during the four month wait for the final autopsy report. Even though we are not at liberty to share exact details at this time, we will continue to fight on the legal way. It is the best thing to do for Abigail because she no longer has a voice," wrote Kalei Vierra.
“Many people suspected [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome] to be the cause of her tragic death but we knew otherwise.”
The Facebook page includes a link to a GoFundMe.com page that is raising money to help with the family’s legal expenses.
A neighbor who lived near the home where the child died said the death came four days after the neighbor filed a complaint alleging the daycare provider, a Navy wife, was operating an unlicensed daycare after being shut down by base officials. The daycare was in privatized housing at Aliamanu Military Reservation, part of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
The neighbor, Air Force wife Katie Camario, told Military Times that she had reported her concerns for more than a year about numerous young children crying and left unattended outside the home, citing various incidents such as the children playing with a lighter, and one child’s head being stuck in playground equipment.
“Now is the time for military leadership to be open and honest as to what the failures were and why, over the span of 15 months, this provider was not completely shut down,” Camario said Monday. “Whether there were loopholes in rules and regs, or lack of enforcement, this is critical. We must learn what failed in order to protect the lives of other innocent babies today.”
In an earlier interview with Military Times, the mother of the child, Anna, said she had no idea that the daycare provider had been reported for neglect, until the day her child died. She said officials need to make changes to ensure children are protected.
The baby’s father is a member of the Army National Guard.
Hawaii Army garrison officials have completed their investigation into child care authorizations and the processes for dealing with child care providers who have not been authorized to provide child care in their military housing. The investigation is currently undergoing legal review, said Dennis Drake, spokesman for U.S. Army Hawaii.
The Defense Department and the services have strict requirements for spouses who want to operate family child care homes on installations.
Camario said she is also concerned that other people didn’t speak up.
“Since Abi’s death, many spouses have told stories about questionable behavior at this provider’s house and how they saw it but did not report it. Others are still making excuses for this provider’s behavior….
“As spouses, we’re often told that we serve, too. If we are to accept this, then we must also accept a responsibility that comes with being part of this community. We must not be afraid to speak up and report things that don’t seem right, and hold one another accountable. Abi’s life depended on it,” Camario said.