A Rockville, Maryland, daycare owner is facing charges of second-degree murder and child abuse after a baby left in his care died violently, police report.
People reports that 35-year-old Kavi Divband, the owner of the home-based Little Dreamers Creative Learning Center, is charged with the death of a 6-month-old baby girl, Millie Lilliston, who he was babysitting when she became unresponsive and turned pale. According to Divband, the baby started choking violently while drinking breast milk from a bottle. Divband’s wife, Sadia Hameed, called 911 while he attempted to perform CPR on the baby, but he was unsuccessful in reviving her.
Millie was taken to a local hospital, and doctors immediately noticed that she had physical trauma. She was then flown to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where physicians noticed numerous injuries and bruises. She was diagnosed with body fractures and retinal hemorrhaging, an injury marked by abnormal bleeding in the blood vessels in the eyes.
Three days later, the baby girl died in the hospital from her injuries.
According to the Montgomery County Department of Police, the baby suffered from fractured ribs and hemorrhages that indicated she’d been physically abused. The police stated the injuries were not consistent with a baby who simply choked while feeding. Authorities released a public statement shortly after.
“Blood evidence was recovered in multiple locations in the daycare facility, including the stroller that Millie was seated in on April 19. A trash can with bloodied baby wipes was located outside with the trash bins. Investigators also noticed that Divband had removed Millie’s name label from her belongings bin.”
Millie’s parents haven’t spoken publicly about the incident, but they did clear themselves from abuse allegations by providing authorities with numerous photos that showed the baby had no bruises or injuries the day before she was in Divband’s care. On April 24, the District of Columbia’s Office of the Medical Center ruled Millie’s death as a homicide caused by blunt-force injuries.
On Tuesday, Divband appeared in court, where a prosecutor said that Millie’s injuries were “too numerous to count,” including at least 11 cracked ribs, face bruises, head injuries, a fractured arm and thigh bone, and mouth lacerations.
Little Dreamers Creative Learning Center, a licensed daycare operation, was opened in the basement of the Divaband’s home, off of Grandin Avenue in the Twinbrook area of Rockville.
According to the daycare’s website, “We strive to provide a safe and fun learning environment.”
Divband and his wife closed the daycare down in mid-April shortly after charges against him emerged. The daycare website is also now closed down.
According to Terrence McGann, Divband’s lawyer, the former daycare operator has been in business for 14 years and has never had any other criminal charges against him. McGann also stated that his client has never had any complaints against him regarding the way he treated children.
Divband’s wife, parents, and several friends are supporting him. They appeared in court on Tuesday to show their support.
According to McGann, “The family adamantly supports Mr. Divband. They don’t believe he is capable of something like this.”
Meanwhile, Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy spoke on behalf of Millie’s grieving parents and indicated that not only was the baby loved but that the case shows the community what can happen when leaving children at daycare centers.
“By all accounts these are absolutely lovely people. They loved this child….This is an important case to a community that relies on leaving children at daycare. The extent of the injuries speak for themselves.”
The Maryland daycare owner remains in jail on a $2 million bond.
[Photo by Montgomery County Police Department]