Updated to include date of upcoming arraignment.
A Navy wife has been indicted on a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of a 7-month-old baby girl in military housing in Hawaii.
The grand jury in Honolulu indicted Dixie Denise Villa on Thursday, according to Brooks Baehr, a spokesman for the Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s office. Villa’s bail, originally set at $1 million, has been reduced to $500,000. Her arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 8.
According to the indictment, Villa is accused of “recklessly" causing the death of the child.
Villa was arrested July 20 in connection with the death of Abigail Lobisch. The baby was found dead on Feb. 24 at the babysitter’s house at Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii. Sources familiar with the situation told Military Times that Villa was not licensed or authorized to care for children in her home, and that base officials had also ordered her to stop providing child care in her home twice. Officials have not confirmed that. Army Garrison Hawaii officials have declined to comment on their investigation into the situation.
An overdose of antihistamine was the cause of death, according to court documents.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit submitted by Honolulu Police Detective Ryan Kaio, the medical examiner’s July 15 report determined that the baby’s blood tested positive for diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl and other similar medications, at a level of 2,400 nanograms per milliliter. That’s nearly twice the 1,400 nanograms per milliliter concentration that is the average reported in infant fatal overdoses, according to the affidavit. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram.
According to the affidavit, Villa told police that the only thing she administered to the baby was lotion, on her skin.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.