The mother of 4 year old Rebecca Riley (who died as a result of an overdose of the blood pressure medicine Clonidine) was said to have been obsessed with the drug when a pharmacist who regularly handled the girls prescriptions took the stand in the case against her. The girls’ mother along with her father is being charged with killing the child by overdosing her on the drug she was given based on purported behavioral problems reported by both of her parents. Rebecca was one of three children in the home all of which were on very potent psychotropic drugs by the point at which Rebecca died. The parents fabricated their children’s behavioral problems in order to get drugs to sedate them and get federal disability aid for each of the children.
According to a Walgreens pharmacist the mother regularly asked for early refills of the girl’s Clonidine prescriptions and even threw a screaming fit when she was denied a refill on one occasion. Authorities estimate that Riley obtained 1,434 pills of Clonidine that year through prescriptions for the girl an amount that was 205 more pills than the child was authorized by her psychiatrist. At the time of her autopsy Rebecca’s body showed toxic levels of Clonidine that were likely to have proven fatal. Based on the coroner’s statement she would have needed to have taken twice the dose prescribed to her daily to get such a high level of the drug into her body.
The mother is thought to have ignored the declining health of her daughter and gone on giving her doses of the drug despite her obviously worsening state. Rebecca’s cause of death is thought to be the result of intoxication from the combined effects of Clonidine, another psychiatric medication that Rebecca was taking called Depakote, and well as chemicals found in cold medicine. Both of her parents are being charged in her death and are being tried separately.