Mother of infant who died of Benadryl overdose in babysitter’s care: ‘You don’t ever get closure’

Hawaii child who died of Benadryl overdose was given twice the fatal dosage, autopsy shows

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - When 7-month-old Abigail Lobisch died on Feb. 24, 2019, in a babysitter’s care, her mother believed the cause was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

It wasn’t until months later, after the autopsy in July, that she learned the truth.

Blood tests showed Lobisch had a fatal dose of diphenhydramine, commonly called Benadryl, in her blood and urine.

In the wake of the finding, babysitter Dixie Denise Villa was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

“Shocked and hurt and confused,” said Anna Lobisch, describing the moment the medical examiner told her the cause of her daughter’s death.

“The one thing I learned from Abi’s death is that there’s no closure on something like this. You don’t ever get closure, we just relive it everyday.”

Villa’s trial is set to start soon, and the infant’s full autopsy report was released this week.

Anna Lobisch
Anna Lobisch (Source: Family)

The 18-page report shows the child had no significant past medical history, was well-developed, and was well-nourished.

The cause of death: Abigail had 2400 ng/mL of Benadryl in the heart blood and more than 5,000 ng/mL in the urine specimen that was also tested, indicating some had already passed through her system.

The report notes concentrations reported in fatal overdoses for infants were 1400 ng/mL.

Autopsy report, Cause of Death
Autopsy report, Cause of Death (Source: None)

Benadryl is not recommended in children under 6 years old.

Lobisch is now 20 weeks pregnant with a baby boy. She says it’s been a tough year.

“To deal with the firsts without her, the first Christmas, the first New Year’s. We miss her," she said.

Villa’s trial is set for May 26.

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