An uncle of 11-year-old Consentino student Precious Wallaces appeared in court to answer to charges related to her sudden death. (File photograph)
Miguel Rivera, the 58-year-old uncle of Haverhill’s Precious Wallaces, is said to have waited at least 13 minutes before calling 911 as she suffered a medical event at his Lawrence home resulting in her death, police said.
Facing a Lawrence District Court judge Tuesday at his arraignment, Rivera has been charged with allegedly permitting substantial bodily injury leading to the 11-year-old’s sudden December death. Arrested Friday and held on $1 million bail over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, Rivera is also said to have misled a police investigation.
As WHAV previously reported, Consentino sixth-grader Wallaces fell ill Dec. 15 while visiting Rivera at his home on Jackson Street. Before her death WHAV received an unconfirmed report that the student may have ingested a substance after school—possibly believing it was candy. A police report released after Rivera’s arraignment confirmed Wallaces tested positive for fentanyl before she slipped into a coma and died on Dec. 18 at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
During a police interview on Dec. 15, Rivera said Wallaces and her brother spent the night at his home, with Wallaces going into the bathroom of 233 Jackson St. around 11 p.m. to get ready for bed. Hours later, Rivera said he was awakened by his niece “having a hard time breathing.” He rolled her on her side “and wiped mucus away from her nose and mouth” before calling 911 and attempting chest compressions.
A follow-up interview with Rivera two days later revealed that he allegedly flushed sleeping pills down the toilet of his apartment’s common bathroom while Wallaces was nearby in medical distress. “He said he was nervous. I asked Miguel what prescription and he said ‘The one they gave me to sleep.’ I think she took the pills,’” Lawrence Detective Ana Villavizar wrote in the police report.
Video surveillance placed Rivera in the bathroom at 3:13 a.m., while cell phone records confirm he did not call 911 until 3:26 a.m. “Miguel was not acting appropriately for the given situation and did not appear to have any sense of urgency,” Villavizar said.
Emergency personnel responded to 233 Jackson St. at 3:38 a.m. An autopsy was conducted on Wallaces on Dec. 19, results of which are still pending.
Rivera has been ordered held without bail pending a hearing next week to determine if he is a danger to society.