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Mother says baby not abused

The mother of a Fitchburg infant who died while the family was involved with the state’s child protection agency said Wednesday that she and her husband are good parents who did not abuse their child.

Charis Irish said in an e-mail to the Globe that she and her husband are heartbroken by the death of their 16-day-old child, Bailey Irish.

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“We love our children and would never neglect or abuse our children in any way,’’ wrote Charis Irish. “Anyone who is close to us would vouch for that.’’

She added, “Just know we love Bailey so much and miss her deeply. We are good parents and have always loved and cared for our children. They have anything they
could ever need or have ever wanted.’’

The office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said that the parents brought their unresponsive child to the HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster Saturday, where the child was pronounced dead at about 8 a.m.

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The district attorney’s office is investigating Bailey’s death, but no criminal charges have been filed and a cause of death has not yet been established, an Early spokesman said.

Early’s office is also continuing to look into the deaths of Grafton infant Aliana Lavigne and Fitchburg preschooler Jeremiah Oliver.

The deaths created a firestorm of controversy that led to the resignation Tuesday of Commissioner Olga Roche of the Department of Children and Families.

Charis Irish and her husband, Travis Irish, also have a son. That boy was taken into custody by DCF after the death of his younger sibling, the agency has said.

The department said it has worked with the Irish family since October 2012.

The agency visited the family March 26 and was supposed to meet with it again Friday, one day before Bailey’s death, but instead rescheduled the visit for Monday.

Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz, who announced Roche’s resignation at a press conference Tuesday, said an initial inquiry into the interactions between DCF and the Irish family concluded that both the parents and the agency handled the situation properly.

“I think this is just a tragic and unfortunate incident, which will be borne out when we get the final results’’ of the investigation into the baby’s death, he said.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson-@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZackSampson. John R. Ellement can be reached atellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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