Man says 1-year-old daughter's overdose accidental

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 08, 2011 5:09 PM
Man says 1-year-old daughter's overdose accidental

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado man charged in the overdose death of his one-year-old daughter said the girl ingested the painkiller oxycodone after he lost one of the pills, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released on Friday.

Manuel Angel Rivera told investigators with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office that Analeisia Rivera must have swallowed the drug when she found the pill on the floor in their Clifton, Colorado home last month.

Rivera admitted to investigators that he had the narcotic illegally because it helped him sleep.

"I like the nod," Rivera said, according to the affidavit.

Rivera, 30, is charged with reckless child abuse resulting in death, and two counts of illegal drug possession.

Deputies responded to the home March 6 after the dead girl's three-year-old sister alerted her parents that "sissy would not wake up," the affidavit said.

When emergency personnel arrived at the home, Manuel Rivera was "distraught and screaming" and had to be "forcibly" moved away from the child by deputies so paramedics could work on her, police said.

Paramedics found the girl unresponsive, ashen-faced, and with vomit coming out of her mouth and nostrils.

Rivera was wailing and crying and at one point put his hands behind his back and told officers to arrest him.

"Manuel Rivera stated it was his fault she died," according to the affidavit.

Autopsy results concluded that the 17-month-old girl had 13 times the therapeutic level of the opium-derived painkiller, and she died from "oxycodone intoxication."

When detectives interviewed Rivera's wife, Melissa, she said her husband was a good father, but had threatened suicide and said he would "run to Mexico" if arrested.

Manuel Rivera is being held at the Mesa County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)