MEDFORD, Mass. – An attorney protested a $500,000 bail set for an Irish nanny accused of beating a Massachusetts infant who later died, as prosecutors said Friday they “fully and firmly” expect to bring more serious charges against her.
Middlesex County prosecutors said a state medical examiner needs more time to complete an autopsy on Rehma Sabir of Cambridge, who was hospitalized with severe head injuries on Jan. 14 — her first birthday — and died two days later.
Aisling McCarthy Brady, 34, of Quincy was charged with assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury. Prosecutors said at the time that Brady could be charged with murder once an autopsy on the baby is completed.
On Friday, Brady’s attorney, Melinda Thompson, asked a judge in Cambridge District Court to reduce her bail, saying prosecutors have kept her in jail for more than two months despite not filing a murder charge against her.
“There is an innocent person sitting in jail,” Thompson said.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the case involves “substantial and complex medical issues” and the state medical examiner needs more time before making a final ruling on the cause of death.
“Based on all the evidence within our present knowledge and possession, we fully and firmly expect to upgrade charges,” Fitzgerald wrote in court documents filed Friday.
Immigration officials have said Brady is in the United States illegally and placed a detainer on her after she was arrested. She arrived from Ireland in 2002 under a tourist program and was only authorized to stay 90 days.
Judge Roanne Sragow denied Thompson’s request to review Brady’s bail, saying Thompson would have to bring her request to the judge who originally set the bail or take her request to Superior Court. Sragow agreed to a request from prosecutors to delay a probable cause hearing until April 22.
After the hearing, Thompson said she believes prosecutors rushed to charge Brady.
“She’s terrified. She’s devastated. She’s in jail for something she didn’t do, and she’s having a really hard time,” Thompson said.
The baby’s parents, Nada Siddiqui and Sameer Sabir, told police Aisling had been their nanny for about six months, caring for the baby while they worked.
In the court filing, Fitzgerald said preliminary findings by the child protection team at Children’s Hospital in Boston indicate the baby’s “injuries and subsequent death were a result of non-accidental abusive head trauma.”
Fitzgerald said that since then, prosecutors have found evidence of “extensive internal head injuries” on Jan. 14, while she was in the sole care of Brady.
Fitzgerald wrote that medical experts believe her injuries “are consistent with abusive head trauma caused by an intentional violent shaking or impact trauma.” But he said additional microscopic examination of the girl’s brain and eyes “are necessary to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the cause and manner of Rehma’s death.”
Fitzgerald said the final autopsy report is expected to be completed within four weeks.