• Police: Uncle charged with child rape after 11-year-old girl's death


    LAWRENCE, Mass. - The uncle of an 11-year-old Haverhill girl who died after being exposed to fentanyl is now charged with child rape.

    Miguel Rivera, 58, who was arrested in connection to the Dec. 15 death of Precious Wallaces, was arraigned on Tuesday on a new charge of rape of a child with force.

    New evidence shows Rivera's DNA on her body. According to the police report, the responding officer says "based on all of the above evidence, I have probable cause to believe that Miguel Rivera committed the crime of rape of a child by force."

    A witness who was also at the home that evening told investigators Rivera "had given them small red pills to swallow at bedtime."

    Family members cried Tuesday as the new charges were filed against Rivera. He is being held without bail until his next court hearing in March.

    A week ago, Rivera pleaded not guilty to charges of permitting substantial bodily injury to a child and misleading a police investigation 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.

    Surveillance video of Rivera's home tells a different story.

    Court documents said the video shows 13 minutes elapsed from the moment Precious showed signs of medical distress until Rivera called 911. Those documents also say Rivera "did not appear to have any sense of urgency."

    The video, according to police, also shows Rivera dumping white pills in the bathroom.

    His family had no comment when asked if Rivera uses drugs, but Lawrence Police said in a report they found cocaine and heroin inside his apartment back in 2009.

    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."

    Rivera was also once convicted of assault in 2013 for threatening a taxi driver with a machete and served a one-year probation.

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