Day care provider charged in death of 6-month-old, accused of giving her antihistamine

Posted at 10:05 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 22:05:03-04

RUTLAND, Vt. – A 53-year-old Vermont woman was arrested Monday and charged after the death of a 6-month-old baby girl.

According to Vermont State Police, Stacey L. Vaillancourt was taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter and cruelty to a child.

Stacey L. Vaillancourt (Mug shot courtesy: Vermont State Police)

The charges stem from the January death of Harper Rose Briar at Vaillancourt’s in-home day care facility, which authorities say was state-certified.

State police say her arrest came following a continued investigation and the completion last week of a final autopsy report from the medical examiner.

According to the release, “Toxicology testing determined that Harper Briar had high concentrations of diphenhydramine in her body. Diphenhydramine is the active, sedating ingredient in over-the-counter antihistamines.”

The medical examiner determined the baby’s cause of death was diphenhydramine intoxication, and the manner of death was homicide.

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“The autopsy report noted that diphenhydramine is not to be used on infants absent an order from a physician. Investigators determined there was no physician order regarding diphenhydramine for Harper Briar,” the release stated.


Authorities said Vaillancourt was the only person to provide care and supervision to Harper before her death on January 24, which was the infant’s third day at the day care facility.

Vaillancourt reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On a GoFundMe page created in Harper’s honor, family and friends wrote, “She truly was a happy baby. Her smile lit up the room. She had everyone who knew her wrapped around her finger. We were all blessed to watch her grow. “