Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Collingdale Mother Charged in Toddler's Heroin Overdose

A mother in Collingdale is being charged with the death of her toddler son, reports The Associated Press.

The mother, Christine Rivero, was arrested for the mysterious death of her 11-month-old, Niccolo Varner, after toxicology reports indicated that the baby died from ingesting heroin.

The death occurred on July 15. At that time, Rivero told officers that her 5-year-old was to blame for the death. She claimed that she put both kids in a bath together and that the 5-year-old may have hit the toddler on the head.

She recanted her story later, claiming that she left her boys unattended to do a bag of heroin with some friends, reports WPVI News.

How the child obtained the heroin remains a mystery. He was taken to the hospital after police responded to a callthat the baby was suffering respiratory distress. He died at the hospital, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nevertheless, Rivero has been charged with third degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and endangering the welfare of children, among other charges.

In Pennsylvania, involuntary manslaughter doesn't require an intent to kill. It focuses on an activity that shows a depraved indifference to human life. The standard for involuntary manslaughter is a showing that the defendant acted in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, causing the death of a person.

Details are vague about the child's death, aside from toxicology reports showing that the child ingested heroin. Testimony from the other sibling might prove important in this case, as authorities piece together the events and begin to build a prosecution case against the mother.

According to some reports (as stated by WPVI News), heroin paraphernalia was found in the house at the time of the baby's death.

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