Police now investigating death at unlicensed day care in Hawaii Army housing area as a homicide
By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 16, 2019
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — The death of a 7-month-old girl in February at an unlicensed day care in a Hawaii military housing complex is now being investigated as a homicide.
The Honolulu Police Department has reclassified its investigation into the death of Abigail Lobisch from an unattended death to manslaughter, the agency said in a statement Tuesday.
No further information will be released at this time, an HPD spokesperson said.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office, which has concluded its autopsy into the cause and manner of the death, had not publicly released those findings as of Tuesday, which would have been the girl’s 1st birthday.
Abigail and her 2-year-old brother spent the night of Feb. 23 at a home day care at the Army-managed Aliamanu Military Reservation in Honolulu. The next day, Anna Lobisch, the children’s mother, received a text message from the day care operator: “Come now.”
When Lobisch arrived, military police were already at the scene and informed her that Abigail was dead.
The day care operator, whose husband was in the Navy, no longer lives in Aliamanu, according to recent divorce filings in Hawaii First Circuit Family Court.
Stars and Stripes is not identifying the operator because no charges have been filed. According to court documents, she is now without a permanent address and is “couch surfing” in the Honolulu area.
Military police had shut down the unlicensed day care several times in the months preceding Abigail’s death, but it had quickly resumed operation each time.
Several days after the death, residents of Aliamanu — including one neighbor who had repeatedly reported to military police her eyewitness accounts of unsupervised toddlers — berated Army officials during a town hall meeting at Fort Shafter that was intended to address Army housing problems.
In the wake of the child’s death, U.S. Army Hawaii commenced an investigation into the handling of complaints for this day care, how home-based child care was being administered in general on its installations, the prevalence of unauthorized day care and the adequacy of policies dealing with unlicensed providers.
The investigation has been completed, but the Army does not plan on releasing its findings, said Dennis Drake, spokesman for Army Garrison Hawaii.
The findings will be available only if requested through the federal Freedom of Information Act, he said.