Rebecca Riley was four years old when she died three years ago. She had been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and ADHD and was being treated with clonidine (a blood pressure medicine sometimes used as a sedative for ADHD) and Depakote (for bipolar). (See the Department of Social Services (DSS) case file recounting the timeline of DSS involvement with the family of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley.)
The coroner at the time concluded that the death was caused by an overdose of those two medications along with other over the counter medications she was taking. Rebecca’s parents, Michael and Carolyn, have been accused of killing Rebecca purposefully for financial reasons. The parents claim Rebecca died of pneumonia and that they were following doctors’ orders regarding the clonidine dose.
Carolyn Riley has already been found guilty of second-degree murder and, if her conviction stands, Riley will serve 15 years before she gets a parole hearing. Michael Riley’s trial began this week, and based on the opening statement of Riley’s attorney, it looks like the defense team is going to try to blame it all on the doctor and Michael Riley’s bipolar disorder.
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Last reviewed: 10 Mar 2010