2018 | Courts

Update: Rockville Day Care Operator Convicted in Death of Infant Girl

Kia Divband could receive up to 40 years in prison

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Kia Divband

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Updated 3 p.m. Monday: Kia Divband, the operator of a Rockville day care facility who was charged in the 2016 death of a 6-month-old infant in his care, was convicted late Friday of first-degree child abuse resulting in death in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

A jury found Divband guilty of the charge, first-degree child abuse resulting in death, which carries a prison term of up to 40 years, in the death of Millie Lilliston, Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said. The jury also acquitted Divband of a second-degree murder charge, he said.

“Our office is pleased with the result,” he said. “We believe justice is served. This is a situation in which a young child was killed and it’s a situation where Mr. Divband faces 40 years in prison … This gets justice for Millie, and we believe the jury understood the grievousness of this crime.”

Divband, 37, was arrested on April 25, 2016, and charged with murder, child abuse and assault in connection with Millie’s death, which occurred three days earlier. Millie, the daughter of Melanie Lilliston and Becky Williams of Rockville, had been under Divband’s care at the Little Dreamers day care, which he operated out of his home at 1603 Grandin Ave.

According to police, Divband said Millie was dropped off at the daycare early on the morning of April 19, took a short nap and then began choking and vomiting as she drank a bottle of breast milk. He then told police that his wife called 911 and first responders transported Millie to Shady Grove Hospital in Rockville. Millie was later taken to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where doctors found fractured knee and thigh bones, blood clots and bruises on her face and body. Police determined the injuries were consistent with physical abuse, rather than a choking incident. Millie died April 22, and on April 24, the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be multiple blunt-force injuries.

The State’s Attorney’s Office retried the case this year, after a mistrial was declared in October 2017 because of the inability of a 12-member jury to reach a unanimous verdict after two days of deliberations.

Korionoff said the current trial began Aug. 27. It was important to retry the case, he said, due to the seriousness of the alleged crime, and to send a message that there will be serious consequences for other day care operators who allow children in their care to suffer.

“Any time a young child dies in the custody of a caregiver, it’s troubling not just to prosecutors but to the public at large,” he said.

Divband’s sentencing hearing will be Nov.1, Korionoff said. Depending on the judge’s ruling and other mitigating factors such as not having had a previous criminal record, he said Divband could receive less than the maximum 40-year term.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include more information about the trial’s outcome.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com