March 27 2015

Burlington Woman Charged With Killing 6-Month-Old by Shaking Child

By: Rich Hosford

A Burlington woman was arraigned today on allegations she murdered a child by shaking a girl under her care at an illegal child care facility. 


According to a release, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced that Pallavi Macharla, 40, of Burlington, was arraigned today on a charge of murder and operating an unlicensed child care program in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. Judge Douglas Wilkens held the defendant without bail pending a further bail hearing next week. The next date has not yet been scheduled.


“This incident is yet another tragic example of a situation in which a care giver has allegedly inflicted injuries on a baby,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Much has been done in this state regarding education on the issue of shaken baby syndrome but clearly this is a stark reminder that prevention programs must continue. It is striking how we still see such disregard for human life in certain cases in which adults leave children alone, fail to get medical help for infants in medical distress, and physically abuse someone so young.”


Authorities say that one year ago, on Thursday, March 27, 2014, a six-month-old baby girl was left in the care of a neighbor, Pallavi Macharla, who regularly provided child care for the baby. It is alleged that at approximately 2:40 p.m, Macharla called the baby’s mother to say the baby was not breathing.


The mother drove to Macharla’s home and saw Macharla performing mouth-mouth respirations on her daughter who was limp and nonresponsive. The mother immediately called 911. 


The defendant reported that the baby became unresponsive after vomiting following a feeding. First responders arriving at the residence on Baron Park Lane in Burlington found the baby unresponsive, pulseless, and apneic. The child was transported by ambulance to Lahey Hospital and then to Boston Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead on March 30, 2014.


Tests showed the baby was suffering from hemorrhaging and that she had “Multiple vertebral compression fractures” that experts say were inflicted on March 27. Those injuries are consistent with shaking, the district attorney’s office states. 


"This is a terribly tragic situation involving the loss of a young, innocent life," Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent said. "I commend all of the investigators involved in this case for their diligence, and I want to acknowledge the efforts of District Attorney Ryan's Office in bringing this case forward."


Additionally, authorities say the defendant did not have a daycare license and was cited by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care for providing unlicensed child care in her home.


These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the release states. 


This case is being investigated by the Burlington Police Department and State Police assigned to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.


The prosecutors assigned to this case are Assistant District Attorneys Katharine Folgerand Anne Paruti. The Victim Witness Advocates are Susie Marshall and Rani Scott

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