A Maryland day care owner who stood trial a second time for the beating death of a 6-month-old girl was found guilty last week of multiple counts in connection with the April 2016 incident.
According to The Washington Post, a jury declined to find Little Dreamers owner Kia Divband, 37 guilty of second-degree felony murder but convicted him of first-degree child abuse resulting in death, first-degree assault related to the death of Millie Lilliston. Divband began abusing the infant in April 2016—with the final beating occurring on April 19.
Bethesda Magazine reported that Divband initially claimed Lilliston took a nap and began choking and vomiting after drinking breast milk. Divband’s wife reportedly called 911 and paramedics transported the girl to Shady Grove Hospital in Rockville. The 6-month-old was moved to a hospital in Washington, D.C., where doctors found she had blood clots, bruises, and a fractured knee and thigh bones, according to the magazine.
Lilliston succumbed to her injuries three days later, on April 22. By April 24, a D.C. medical examiner determined the infant died from blunt-force trauma.
Divband was charged in connection with Lilliston’s death a day after the coroner’s office released its findings. Facing murder, child abuse, and assault charges, the first trial ended in a mistrial in October 2017.
During the second trial, the court learned how Divband conducted internet searches for “Broken Bones in Children,” “Why are bone fractures in children sometimes hard to detect,” and “Can you move your foot if your leg is broken.”
Defense attorneys argued that no one witnessed Divband inflict the injuries that led to Lilliston’s death. They also claimed that there was no evidence that their client intended to seriously injure the infant, according to The Post.
The slain baby’s parents, Melanie Lilliston and Becky Williams, told the court how they visited 10 to 12 day cares before selecting Little Dreamers. The couple said part of the reason they picked Divband’s day care was because he was caring for his young child in the home.
“Our office is pleased with the result,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office spokesperson Ramon Korionoff told Bethesda Magazine following Friday’s ruling. “We believe justice is served. This is a situation in which a young child was killed and it’s a situation where Mr. Divband faces 40 years in prison…This gets justice for Millie, and we believe the jury understood the grievousness of this crime.”
Sentencing is scheduled for November 1.
[Featured image: Millie Lilliston/Montgomery County court]