Local Daycare Owner Charged In Infant’s Death Jailed Again

WACO (August 23, 2013)--Waco home daycare owner Marian Bergman Fraser, 49, who’s accused of giving an over-the-counter allergy medication to infants in her care, one of whom died of an overdose, was back in the McLennan County Jail Friday after she was named in eight additional arrest warrants charging child endangerment.

Marian Fraser (Jail photo)

The warrants were issued late Thursday afternoon.

She was released at around noon after posting bonds totaling $40,000

The death of the 4-month-old girl from an overdose of diphenhydramine,” the generic name for the over-the-counter allergy drug Benadryl, was ruled a homicide in a new report earlier this week from the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science in Dallas.

“Special Crimes detectives requested the warrants after eight additional children tested positive for the drug Benadryl,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said in a brief new release Thursday evening.

The infant, Clara Marguerite Felton, died at a local hospital on March 4 after she was found unresponsive and not breathing in her crib at the Spoiled Rotten home daycare center at 1725 Hilltop Dr. in Waco.

The original autopsy report issued at the end of May said she died “as the result of toxic effects of diphenhydramine,” but listed the manner of death as undetermined.

Fraser, 49, surrendered earlier this month and was charged with injury to a child (causing death) in the death of the infant, who was the granddaughter of McLennan County Judge Scott Felton.

Fraser was freed on $25,000 bond, but then was named in two new warrants that were served on Aug. 12, charging child endangerment involving a 1-year-old and a 7-month-old, both of whom tested positive for the allergy drug diphenhydramine, police said.

She was released from jail after posting additional bonds totaling $6,000.

The affidavits submitted for the two warrants served on Aug. 12 said the parents of the two infants had hair samples taken in July at a lab in Austin and that a lab in Deer Park confirmed the presence of diphenhydramine.

Police think the infants were given the diphenhydramine to ensure that they slept during nap-time.

The parents told investigators that they had never given the drug to their children and had never given anyone else permission to administer it, either.

As many as 10 parents had hair samples tested for diphenhydramine, a source close the investigation said.

An 11th infant wasn’t tested because he was being given Benadryl under a doctor’s direction, the source said.

The daycare, which opened in November 1996, was licensed to care for as many as 12 children, but a review process was underway, a Texas Family and Protective Services spokeswoman said earlier this month.

A lawyer for the Felton family says he will file civil lawsuit in the case after the criminal proceedings are completed.