Family member indicted for rape, murder of 11-year-old Massachusetts girl

Miguel Rivera was indicted in the death of 11-year-old Precious Wallaces.

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Miguel Rivera was indicted in the death of 11-year-old Precious Wallaces.

A Massachusetts man was indicted for the rape and murder of Precious Wallaces, the Essex district attorney and Lawrence police chief announced Wednesday.

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Wallaces was an 11-year-old girl from Haverhill who died after being found unresponsive at a family member's home on Dec. 15.

According to the release from the district attorney's office, Miguel Rivera, 58, of Lawrence, was indicted in her death.

Rivera was arrested Jan. 18. Rivera is charged with permitting substantial bodily injury to a child and misleading a police investigation. In court recently, Rivera pleaded not guilty after police said Wallaces died after being exposed to fentanyl.

Police said Rivera waited 13 minutes to call 911

Rivera was indicted on charges of first-degree murder rape of a child with force, rape of a child aggravated by age difference, indecent assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and distributing a class E substance to a minor.

Police said 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. Police said she was exposed to fentanyl.

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

Court documents said 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 said the video also showed Rivera dumping white pills in the bathroom. Family members had no comment about whether Rivera uses drugs. 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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