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Prosecutor: Parents Overdosed Daughter, 4
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 7, 2007

HINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS--Four-year-old Rebecca Riley died in the early morning hours of December 13, 2006, in what a medical examiner later called a "painful, slow and horrifying death", allegedly from an overdose of prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Plymouth Assistant District Attorney Frank Middleton Jr. told a court Tuesday that the girl's parents, Michael, 34, and Carolyn, 32, failed to seek medical attention for the girl, even though family members urged them to take her to the emergency room.

The Rileys were in court facing charges of first-degree murder. They pleaded not guilty to the crime, and were ordered held without bail.

Family members are defending the parents, saying Rebecca was "difficult" to deal with.

At the same time, they are condemning the psychiatrist who prescribed powerful medications for the child. Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, had diagnosed Rebecca at 28 months of age as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder.

At the time of Rebecca's death, Kifuji had prescribed Clonidine, which is used to treat high blood pressure in adults, and insomnia, violent or aggressive behavior, and ADHD in children; Depakote, a mood stabilizer which is used to treat seizures and mania in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder; and Seroquel, an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia and mania. Her parents were also giving her a pediatric cold medicine that contained a cough suppressant and an antihistamine.

The medical examiner concluded that the damage to Riley's internal organs had taken place over a considerable amount of time.

"The little girl's lungs were ravaged," Middleton said. "Her little body couldn't pump blood to her heart and organs. She was slowly, but surely dying before their eyes. She drowned on liquid from the inside out."

According to the Boston Herald, court documents allege that the couple had given the girl dosages that exceeded the prescribed amounts, and that they refused to get medical attention for her even though she was coughing and vomiting uncontrollably in the days before her death.

The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that Dr. Kifuji had agreed to immediately stop seeing patients while the state investigates her role in the case.

"Parents charged in overdose death of 4-year-old" (Boston Herald)
"Rebecca’s Rx" (Boston Herald)
"Three days in December" (Boston Herald)
"Family’s troubled past emerges: Parents plead not guilty in overdose death of 4-year-old girl" (Boston Herald)
"Psychiatrist takes paid leave after death of girl" (Boston Globe)
"Doing their best? Relatives say parents struggled with ‘difficult’ kids" (Patriot-Ledger)
"Poisoned Girl's Grandmother Defends Family" (The Boston Channel)

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