Police investigate death of 10-month-old in Northwest D.C.

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By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 11, 2010

D.C. homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 10-month-old girl who lapsed into unconsciousness Tuesday night while being cared for by a nanny in her parents' Northwest Washington home, police said.

The child, whom authorities did not identify, suffered "a possible injury to the neck" that might have been accidental, said Capt. Michael Farish, a supervisor in the homicide unit. Detectives have interviewed the nanny and the parents, and "nothing jumps out to make this suspicious," Farish said.

"At this point, awaiting the results of the autopsy, we're not going to elaborate any further on it," he said.

Farish said the parents, whom he described as a couple in their 40s, were not home when the incident occurred in the 4600 block of Argyle Terrace NW, near Rock Creek Park, a few doors from D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's house on 17th Street NW.

Farish said the girl was the couple's only child.

He said the nanny, carrying the baby, emerged from the $1.2 million stone house shortly before 6 p.m. and sought assistance from a police officer assigned to Fenty's security detail who was parked outside the mayor's home.

The child was "unconscious and unresponsive," Farish said. "The police officer immediately began all efforts to save the baby's life, starting with [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]. After the first series of CPR, the officer began requesting emergency assistance."

Farish said the girl was taken to a hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead at 9:31 p.m.

The autopsy was to be conducted Wednesday at the D.C. medical examiner's office, Farish said. He said police were withholding the names of the nanny and parents out of respect for their privacy until investigators determine whether a crime was committed. He described the parents as "beyond distraught."

"We're talking about a couple who aren't young" in terms of being new parents, he said, adding that the child was not adopted. "We're talking about folks who spent a long, long time trying to have a kid."

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