Last week on January 14 Rehma Sabir of Cambridge, Mass., celebrated her first birthday. Sadly, it was also the day she was hospitalized with severe head injuries. Two days later she died. The horrific alleged cause of her death: a brutal assault by her Irish nanny, Aisling McCarthy Brady.
According to the Associated Press, Brady has been jailed on an assault charge and could face murder charges after an autopsy is complete. Court documents filed by the police paint a gruesome picture of what may have happened, as a bloody pillow, blanket, and baby wipes were reportedly found in Rehma's room. Doctors say she was a victim of abusive head trauma, which could have been caused by violent shaking or impact to the head.
That doesn't quite add up with the story Brady, who had been the family's nanny for six months, told police -- that after a happy lunch during which she sang to the girl, she put her in her crib for a nap. About three hours later when she went in to get her up she noticed that "Rehma was clenching her fists and her arms and legs were stiff." Shortly thereafter the mother arrived home, and called 911.
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A neighbor reportedly heard the baby crying for an almost an hour before it escalated into "extreme crying." The woman said she knocked on the apartment trying to get someone's attention, but no one answered the door. Then the crying "started to slow and settle down before stopping completely," the woman said.
What happened inside the walls of that apartment is too horrific to imagine. Did Brady just snap? Was it an accident that she tried to cover up? Or perhaps it was something even more sinister?
Apparently Brady had past incidents of violence (one previous assault charge, and two restraining orders had been taken out against her), and you have to wonder if the baby's parents, Nada Siddiqui and Sameer Sabir, did a background check on her. Brady's neighbor, Thomas Collins, who lived above her for the last six years described her as aggressive and argumentative. "She would just go off the hinges, just ballistic, at a moment's notice."
Of course she's innocent until proven guilty, but based on what's been presented, it looks like it may be yet another case in which a nanny may have killed a child with whose care she had been entrusted. No matter how many loving, wonderful caregivers there are out there, these cases still strike fear in the heart every parent who ever has or will use childcare, and make us wonder once again if our children are truly as safe as we think they are. And it makes it more and more difficult to walk out that door and leave them in anyone else's care. R.I.P., sweet Rhema.
Thoughts on this case?
Image via Middlesex District Attorney's Office