Trial set for babysitter charged with manslaughter after infant overdosed in her care at Army housing

The death of 7-month-old Abigail Lobisch on Feb. 24, 2019, at an unlicensed day care at a Hawaii military housing complex was investigated as a homicide.


By ROSEMARIE BERNARDO | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: August 9, 2019

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — An October trial is scheduled for a woman charged with manslaughter in the death of a 7-month-old girl from an overdose of Bena­dryl at an unlicensed day care on an Army-managed complex.

Dixie Denise Villa, 41, appeared Thursday at her arraignment before Judge Shirley Kawamura at Circuit Court via video from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. She was indicted for manslaughter in the Feb. 24 death of Abigail Lobisch.

Deputy Public Defender Donovan Odo entered a not-guilty plea on Villa’s behalf and requested supervised release, noting her mother is prepared to cover monthly payments for an apartment on Oahu. Alternatively, Odo requested a bail reduction to $50,000 from $500,000.

Deputy Prosecutor Tiffany Kaeo argued the offense is a Class A felony and that Villa is a flight risk as she has family members on the mainland. Kawamura denied Odo’s request and confirmed bail at $500,000.

Villa’s trial is set for October, and she faces up to 20 years in prison. Her estranged husband filed for divorce in May.

Police said Lobisch and her 2-year-old brother were left overnight in Villa’s care Feb. 23.

The children as well as Villa’s two children spent the day at the pool at Aulani Resort in Ko Olina before they returned to Villa’s home at the Aliamanu Military Reservation that afternoon. Villa said while at home she applied lotion on the children for sunburn.

Sometime after 8 a.m. the next day, she called 911 after finding Lobisch unresponsive.

Emergency responders tried to revive the child and transported her to Tripler Army Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Toxicology tests showed there was 2,400 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter) of diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in the child’s blood, according to court documents. Fatal doses of diphenhydramine in infants have been reported at 1,400 ng/mL in infants.

Benadryl products can be used to relieve pain and itching for sunburns, insect bites and minor skin irritation but are not recommended for young children.

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Dixie Denise Villa, 40, has been charged with manslaughter in the February 2019 death of 7-month-old Abigail Lobisch at the unlicensed home day care she ran at Aliamanu Military Reservation in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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