An unlicensed daycare operator, who allegedly drugged a 4-month old boy, which resulted in his death, appeared in court on Thursday.
Police said Carol Cardillo gave 4-month-old Adam Seagull Benadryl and may have done so to other children in her care.
Cardillo appeared in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday morning to answer charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment as well as risk of injury to a minor.
“He had the biggest smile and anybody could see that he was just a very loving little boy,” Michelle Seagull, of Shelton, said.
Adam Seagull was cherished by his family.
Sadly, in late March, the Fairfield Police Department was called to investigate after Adam Seagull, who was being cared for at a daycare on Edgewood Road, was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, police said.
The early diagnosis was SIDS.
“When we thought it was SIDS, I accepted it, but I didn’t understand,” Mathew Seagull, of Shelton, said. “When we found out the truth, I understand now I just don’t accept it.”
An autopsy revealed the true cause of death was from acute intoxication from the drug Diphenhydramine, which is a type of medicine found in Benadryl that The Food and Drug Administration said should not be given to children under 2 years old.
They cited potentially serious health effects from convulsions and rapid heart rates to death. The drug was administered by Cardillo, who was allegedly operating an unlicensed daycare out of her home.
Court documents say that while Adam's parents said he was a healthy boy, they added he was a fussy sleeper. The documents said "The parents stated Carol, (Mrs. Cardillo) had the 'magic touch' as she was able to get their son to nap for as long as one-and-a-half hours, which was much longer than he napped while at home."
The Fairfield Police Department said they believe Adam Seagull was not the only child allegedly drugged by Cardillo.
Investigators said she bought nearly 100 bottles over the years, more than anyone would purchase for personal use.
Through her attorney told police she didn't give the baby any medicine and didn't have Benadryl in the house, investigators checked her CVS care card account....saying Cardillo, who has no young children or grandchildren herself, had purchased 90 bottles during the last three years.
Court documents said "these bottles consisted of both 4 and 8 ounces of diphenhydramine, the majority of which were children's bubble gum or cherry flavored."
They state after her last purchase on March 15, one week before Adam died, while she continued to use the care card, there were no additional purchases of the drug.
A co-worker first told police, there was Tylenol, Orajel, and Benadryl on a downstairs changing table. Court documents said "...originally stated that Mrs. Cardillo would put Benadryl on the children's gums when they were teething, but quickly corrected herself, saying 'no' not Benadryl, Orajel."
Later in another interview, police say that co-worker changed her tune, saying there was never any Benadryl in the house. Something Cardillo and her attorney stated multiple times.
"He informed me that his client was not going to subject herself to another interview. He continued by saying that Mrs. Cardillo had already told me everything about the incident. He further stated that Mrs. Cardillo told him she did not have that medication in her home and would not have given that medication to a baby,” court documents said.
Adam’s parents told Eyewitness News they want justice for their son, but said they won’t let anger consume them. They look pictures of him often, while holding onto memories of their four special months with him.
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