DA’s office investigates deaths of two babies


Updated, Sunday, March 17, 8:30 pm*

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe’s office is investigating the deaths of two babies in recent weeks. 

In an email to The Times, Tara Miltimore, a spokesman for Cape and Islands DA’s office, wrote that the two separate cases have been turned over to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to perform autopsies. 

On Saturday at around 2 am, police stopped a vehicle in Tisbury for speeding in the early morning hours. Miltimore wrote that police learned the occupants of the vehicle were trying to get a baby girl to the hospital.

In answering a question about Saturday’s incident, Tracey Jones, ambulance coordinator, told The Times a Tisbury ambulance responded to a “medical emergency” and brought a patient to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

The baby was unresponsive, and the child was pronounced dead at the hospital, Miltimore wrote.

On Feb. 24, Chilmark Police responded to an unresponsive baby boy at a residence in that town, Miltimore wrote. “The infant was transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased,” she wrote.

Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio would not release that department’s report on Saturday’s incident, referring calls to the State Police. Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren could not be immediately reached.

“It is standard procedure for all unattended deaths to be investigated by State Police detectives assigned to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office,” Miltimore wrote.

*This story was updated to delete the ethnicity of the families of the infants. For a further explanation, click here.


    • jb– can you imagine the times saying ” both babies were born to “white American citizens” ?
      Not a chance– it’s called “microaggression”, if we are kind to the Times….
      I agree with you and Jackie– shame on the Times.

      • Not every fact is a “microaggression.” We found this to be a salient fact in this instance. Two babies from a rather small population on the Island within weeks of each other. Maybe it’s just a sad coincidence, but it could speak to a larger issue. An earlier commenter, Mack and the boys, nails it. And that’s something we are certainly following up on.

        • Andrew– My comments about your posts are not “micro”. They are blatant and overt. The concept of microaggression is that it is subtle, unconscious and unintentional.
          The “good people” who were carrying nazi flags and chanting “jews will not replace us ” in Charlottesville last year were not guilty of microaggression– they were guilty of antisemitism. –TRIGGER WARNING ALERT . You can flee to your safe space and contemplate that now .
          Peace and love, bro.

  1. I thought it was a salient detail, because perhaps native English speakers could have enjoyed better communication with their babies’ doctors prior to these tragic deaths. Maybe an American parent would have felt comfortable being more assertive at the hospital, seeking answers or different treatment. Who knows? But because of the language issue, it is not at all the same thing as if the article had mentioned the babies were Jewish.

    • Until we know that there was prior medical treatment or an issue I think this is a premature conclusion. At any rate it wouldn’t be a failure of the parents but our medical system. I will wait for more details. I think we all should. Meanwhile I hope we will all keep these families in our thoughts

    • Mack– I don’t really want to run too far down this rabbit hole, but you are assuming they don’t speak English. I know plenty of Brazilians on this island who are fluent in English. There is nothing in the article about previous visits to a doctor before these incidents. I also can’t imagine that there would not be a bilingual staff person on duty at all times in the e.r.. But If not, that is something the hospital should look at.

      • Don – I’m not assuming the parents don’t speak English. But it’s a possibility. And there is a difference between knowing enough English to get along, and knowing enough language to swing your weight around at the hospital when your baby’s ailment is not taken seriously enough. Again, who knows? We’ll find out more. But I’m not terribly fond of the term “microaggressions,” especially when applied to our local paper.

        • mack– given what we know from this article, I doubt the parents “swinging their weight around” would have made much difference since both children were d.o.a. at the hospital.
          I think the word microaggression is appropriate here.
          “: a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority) ” — Merriam Webster

  2. I am wondering if I am reading this correctly… The vehicle was stopped in Tisbury, and rather than have the police escort this critical patient to the hospital, they called, and presumably waited for an ambulance ?

  3. Everyone now has a right to be offended by something. There is a Brazilian population on this island. Most are earnest and hard working but most also use Portuguese as their common language with each other. Some don’t know English well and some may not be entirely comfortable in this setting away from their homeland. It is absolutely appropriate to mention the country of origin. Acculturation is always and issue. the Times is not indicting anyone or implying anything other than the babies were Brazilian. If they were Zulus you would be accusing if it isnt mentioned. Oh! sorry I cant really say the word Zulu because it implies racism.

    • If you can’t see how racist this is, I don’t know what to tell you. If these were two white children, the headline would not be “DA’s office investigates death of two babies.” It would be something like “An island mourns.” These are families with dead children and the times has shown no compassion at all.

      • Elisha, 48 percent of Brazilians are white. There is nothing racist about naming the country of origin. Would I be racist if I said Israeli babies were killed in the West Bank. Could Palestinian babies be in jeopardy in Gaza. Did a Mexican Billionaire invest in the NYTimes or was it a Croatian farmer? Jumping on a well intentioned Newspaper for wordsmithing is not useful.

        • The point is we don’t know that the baby’s nationalities had anything to do with their deaths. If it didn’t then it’s not responsible to report it. If it did and the Times knows has the facts then they should report it.

        • Andrew, 48 percent of Brazilians IN BRAZIL might be white, but you can’t seriously think that that is the case for Brazilians on MV? Also, you once again prove that you’re the one obsessed with race, by constantly talking about “Mexican Millionaires”, googling how many people in certain countries are considered “White”, etc. Stop hiding behind your obvious xenophobia, and at least own it for once.

  4. The ethnicity of these children has nothing to add to the story. For shame! How dare you? I can forgive certain misjudgments. but this? Not since the former editor’s final column have I seen such a gross misuse of the platform that is this outlet. Some serious soul searching is in order.

    • Islanduh your pettiness is stunning and you should do the soul searching. Do you really really believe that Brennan and the MV Times are casting aspersions and implying some malignant purpose? Parsing and digging words that offend you makes you think too highly of yourself.

  5. The ethnicity of these babies and their families is completely irrelevant to this news story. Shame on the Times for adding to the absolute heartbreak these families must be going through right now! Can we just be sensitive and respectful to the feelings of our fellow islanders, neighbors, mothers, fathers? Our fellow HUMANS?

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