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Burlington Woman Gets Life Without Parole for Shaken Baby Death

May 14, 2019 GMT

A Burlington daycare operator convicted in the shaking death of a six-month-old girl in her care three years ago was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on Monday.

The sentence was handed down to 44-year-old Pallavi Macharla after a Middlesex Superior Court Jury found her guilty of second-degree murder for the March 2014 death of Ridhima Dhekane, according to a Middlesex District Attorney’s Office press release.

“The loss of any child is tragic,” Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent said in the release. “To lose an innocent and defenseless child in such a violent and senseless manner is devastating.”


The baby’s mother left Ridhima in the Macharla’s care on March 27, 2014. The 44-year-old regularly provided child care to the baby and had background as a trained medical professional, the release states.

As District Attorney Marian Ryan said in Monday’s release, the victim was dropped off at Macharla’s home a “perfectly healthy infant and by the afternoon she was unresponsive and had sustained serious injuries.”

At approximately 2:40 p.m., Macharla called the baby’s mother to say the six-month-old was not responding. Ridhmima’s mother raced to Macharla’s home, where she found the woman performing mouth-to-mouth on her daughter. The baby was limp and not responding, the release states.

The mother called 911. Micharla claimed the baby became unresponsive after vomiting following a feeding, according to the release. Emergency crews arrived on scene where they found the baby without a pulse.

Ridhima was rushed to Lahey Hospital and then to Boston Children’s Hospital. According to the District Attorney’s Office, the six-month-old never regained consciousness.

Tests of the baby determined she was suffering from hemorrhaging of the brain and behind her retinas. She was also found to have multiple fractures to her spine. The injuries were consistent with abusive head trauma, according to a press release.

Due to the severity of bleeding and swelling of the baby’s brain, any attempts at surgical intervention would have been futile, the release states.

An autopsy determined Ridhima’s death was caused by blunt force trauma and due to shaking injuries to the head, according to the release.

During an investigation, authorities learned Macharla made past statements describing the victim as “fussy and in need of constant attention,” the release states.

“This led investigators to believe that the motivation for the shaking injuries and blunt force trauma occurred as a result of the defendant’s frustration with her,” the release continues.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fisherman handed down Macharla’s sentence shortly after the jury’s conviction on Monday.

The victim’s family has requested privacy following Monday’s conviction.

Follow Aaron Curtis @aselahcurtis on Twitter