The Big Island foster mother accused of killing a three-year-old boy remains in custody.

Prosecutors say Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie faces enhanced sentencing if found guilty of second degree murder.

She was arrested over a year ago and was released without being charged. This time, prosecutors say they have enough evidence to charge her with murder.

Three-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia died in July 2017 after he was rushed to a Kona hospital. The initial autopsy said that he died from blunt force trauma to the head, but the medical examiner could not say if the death was accidental.

Big Island police classified the case as murder last year after having another pathologist review the autopsy report. Police arrested Alcosiba-McKenzie in August 2018 but released her without charges, until she was indicted just over a week ago.

“During that time, the Hawaii Police Department and the prosecutor’s office did additional work on this case and we presented it to the grand jury when we felt it was appropriate,” said Kate Perazich, deputy prosecutor.

She would not say if new evidence was discovered. Because the victim is a child, prosecutors are looking for a harsher penalty if the foster mother is convicted. The same law also applies to elderly victims.

“Because the victim is a child under the age of eight the potential sentence upon conviction would include a mandatory minimum of 15 years,” said Perazich.

The indictment says Alcosiba-McKenzie failed “to obtain reasonably necessary and available medical services… he was suffering from serious physical harm.”

Perazich says murder can be applied when the suspect intentionally kills someone, or when the suspect fails to get help for the victim under their care.

“Knowing that the person needed medical care and treatment and being a caretaker or a parent or guardian of that person, the defendant failed to provide that medical care and that resulted in the death,” she said.

Alcosiba-McKenzie pleaded not guilty during her court appearance. Trial is scheduled for January 7.

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