Court docs: Suspect in 11-year-old Haverhill girl's death waited to call 911

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A Lawrence man was arraigned Tuesday in connection with the death of Precious Wallaces, the Essex District Attorney and Lawrence Police Chief announced. Wallaces was an 11-year-old girl from Haverhill who died after being found unresponsive at a family member's home on December 15.

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According to the release from DA Jonathan Blodgett and Chief Roy Vasque, Miguel Rivera, 58, of Lawrence, was arrested on Jan. 18. Rivera is charged with permitting substantial bodily injury to a child and misleading a police investigation.

In court Tuesday, Rivera pleaded not guilty after police say Wallaces died after being exposed to fentanyl. Police say Rivera waited 13 minutes to call 911.

Police say, Precious, whose mother is Rivera's niece, was asleep inside Rivera's Jackson Street apartment when she began having a "hard time breathing." According to court documents, Rivera told police he "called 911 after attempting chest compressions" but Precious died a few days later and say she was exposed to fentanyl.

That led investigators back to Rivera's home where they say surveillance video showed a different store.

Court docs say the video showed "13 minutes passed until Miguel called 911" after Precious showed medical distress and that Rivera "did not appear to have any sense of urgency."

Police say the video also showed Rivera dumping white pills in the bathroom.

When we asked family if Rivera uses drugs, they had no comment, but in the Lawrence Police report, officers say they found heroin and cocaine in Rivera's apartment in 2009 and inside a locked closet, another small bag of heroin.

The officer also wrote he had previously arrested "Rivera's brother, niece and niece's husband at Rivera's apartment for dealing and possession of drugs."

Other court records show Rivera was convicted of assault in 2013 for threatening a taxi driver with a machete and given one-year probation.

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Rivera is being held without bail until a dangerousness hearing next week.