Matthew Eappen’s Family: Where are Sunil, Deborah, and Brendan Now?

Sunil and Deborah Eappen experienced profound devastation when their 9-month-old son, Matthew, passed away in February 1997. The baby sustained severe head injuries, including a fractured skull and internal bleeding in the brain. Their au pair, Louise Woodward, was accused of murder in connection with his death. Adding to the family’s anguish was the challenge of explaining to their older son, Brendan, the loss of his beloved younger brother. ‘The Killer Nanny: Did She Do It?’ which aired on Channel 4 in 2022, explores the family’s traumatic experience and the intense legal battle that garnered widespread attention.

Who are Sunil, Deborah, and Brendan Eappen?

Sunil Eappen was born and raised in Chicago, where he attended the University of Illinois. Although he initially pursued Mathematics and Computer Science, his lifelong aspiration was to become a doctor, inspired by his father’s career as a pediatrician. Undeterred, he pursued his medical ambitions at the University of Chicago, where he crossed paths with Deborah. Following their marriage and completion of their studies, the couple relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, where Sunil commenced his residency program.

The couple got married in 1990 and welcomed their first son, Brendan, in 1994. As they were establishing themselves as respected doctors in the area, their busy schedules led them to seek the assistance of au pairs to help care for Brendan. In May 1996, they welcomed their second son, Matthew, who quickly became the center of attention for the entire family, particularly Brendan. Brendan took on the role of a caring older brother, looking out for Matthew, playing with him, and eagerly embracing the idea of having a younger sibling to grow up with.

In late 1996, the Eappen couple hired their fourth au pair, Louise Woodward, a teenager from Elton who was on a gap year. Allegedly, the couple were dissatisfied with Woodward’s work, and in January 1997, they provided her with a list of tasks they expected her to complete. They also claimed that on one occasion, they returned home to find both children left alone while Woodward was doing laundry in the basement. However, they never anticipated the events of February 4, 1997, when Woodward called 911 to report that Matthew was having difficulty breathing.

Their son was rushed to the hospital, where he passed away on February 9. This period was exceptionally challenging for the family, especially when it came to explaining to Brendan what had happened to his brother and whether Woodward had caused harm to him. The ensuing legal battle was even more grueling. Deborah testified against Woodward, while Woodward’s defense team claimed that the injuries could have occurred up to three weeks prior, suggesting potential involvement of the parents in Matthew’s abuse rather than Woodward.

Sunil and Deborah initially felt a sense of relief when Woodward was convicted of second-degree murder, but it was short-lived. Following the reduction of her conviction and sentence, they turned to the media to voice their frustration, feeling that not only had they lost their son, but justice had also been denied to them. In 1999, they filed a civil lawsuit against Woodward to prevent her from benefiting in any way from the case, ultimately reaching a settlement to address this matter as well.

Sunil and Deborah Eappen are Still Working as Doctors, While Brendan Runs an NGO Today

In response to the tragedy of Matthew’s death and the subsequent legal proceedings, Sunil and Deborah Eappen established The Matty Eappen Foundation. This organization focuses on addressing and increasing awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome or Abusive Head Trauma. Through research efforts and advocacy, they aim to provide medical and legal support to families facing similar challenges. The foundation also offers grants and programs to aid individuals connected with their cause. Deborah serves as the president of the foundation and is an active keynote speaker, representing the organization at various events and functions.

Deborah continues to serve as a comprehensive Ophthalmologist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston while also nurturing her family with her two other children, Kevin and Elisabeth. Sunil plays an active role as a board member of The Matty Eappen Foundation, alongside his work as an Anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Brendan Eappen has pursued a successful and fulfilling career, mirroring the professional path of his parents. He attended Harvard Medical School and gained experience working with various organizations before co-founding an NGO called Fortify Health.

The foundation focuses on assisting the Indian government in fortifying wheat flour with iron, folic acid, and Vitamin B12 to address widespread nutritional deficiencies in the population. Brendan’s commitment to this cause reflects the family’s enduring dedication to addressing health issues in memory of Matthew. Brendan continues to maintain a strong bond with his siblings and parents. In 2023, he also celebrated a milestone by getting married. Despite the challenges they’ve faced, the family continues to honor Matthew’s memory while striving to make a positive impact on public health.

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