Patriot Ledger Special Report: Everyone Failed Rebecca Return to The Patriot Ledger home page Return to Special Reports at The Patriot Ledger
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Highlights of the affidavit

From the affidavit on the arrest of Carolyn and Michael Riley, charged with murdering their four-year-old daughter Rebecca on Dec. 13, 2006:

Download the affidavit here

bullet “The following facts provide evidence of the slow and painful killing of Rebecca Riley over a period of days at the hands of her parents.”

bullet “Failure to provide any medical care to their own daughter as she lay drowning in her own bodily fluids on the floor beside their bed.”

bullet “She was lying on her left side, partially on a pile of clothes and papers and a stuffed brown bear. She looked as if she had fallen there. Her face and hair were covered in a frothy, foamy reddish brown body fluid, which appeared to emanate from her nose and also pooled onto the rug”

bullet “A bruise was evident on her right thigh and upper right arm. She was attired in only a pink pull-up diaper. She was wearing gold pierced stud earrings with colored stones.”

bullet “Michael Riley repeatedly told Carolyn to medicate the children when he determined they were ‘acting up’”

bullet “Dr. Bundock noted several purple bruises on various parts of Rebecca’s body. Two were noted on the inner left thigh, one on the inner right thigh, one was also observed on the outer right thigh.”

bullet “One red mark was observed on the inside right bicep. The red mark was consistent with a thumbprint, as if an adult grabbed the arm.”

bullet “He moved back in with his family only two weeks prior to Rebecca’s death.”

From the affidavit...

“Rebecca was standing, leaning against the couch, knocking weakly on the Riley’s bedroom door and saying; ‘Mommy’ softly over and over again.”

bullet “Dr. Kifuji based her diagnoses on the family mental illness history as described by Carolyn Riley and Rebecca’s behavior as described by Carolyn and briefly observed by Dr. Kifuji during office visits.”

bullet “The school nurse stated that Rebecca was tired and a “floppy doll” when she arrived at school in the morning, but would start getting more awake and interactive.”

bullet “So tired she could barely walk up stairs without help”

bullet “Almost every day, at approximately two o’clock, Rebecca would start to come to life ... she would start using her words and attempting activities.”

bullet “Came to school frequently without a snack, wearing inappropriate clothing or shoes that were obviously too big.”

bullet “Spoke about Rebecca’s constant need to urinate ...Rebecca was often so weak that she could not pull up or fasten her pants.”

bullet “Rebecca came to school dressed inappropriately for the season/weather (‘belly-shirt’ and short skirt during cold weather.”

bullet “The Rileys were always complaining about running out of Clonidine”

bullet “Investigators were only able to locate seven Clonidine tablets in the blue medicine tray. According to the records from Walgreen’s and Nantasket Pharmacy, Rebecca Riley should have had at least seventy-five Clonidine tablets left.”

bullet “The Rileys referred to the Clonidine as ‘happy medicine’ or the ‘sleep medicine.”

bullet “Dying of an overdose of Clondine would have been a slow and painful death. Her heart would not have pumped fast enough to circulate blood into her lungs and other major organs, causing these organs to slowly shut down. Her lungs would have gradually filled with fluid, resulting in pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure. The symptoms of pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure would include pale, cool, clammy skin, a cough, uncontrollable at times, which would sound sharp. Towards the end of her life, Rebecca would probably have become incoherent as her organs began to shut down, her skin would have been pale and she would eventually lose consciousness.”

bullet “She vomited water and phlegm and that he saw the Depakote sprinkles in her vomit.”

bullet “She ‘was all dressed up, like a ‘photo shoot’, adding; ‘it was weird and didn’t look very comfortable for a sick kid...’”

bullet “Yelled at Rebecca about embarrassing them by throwing up in the office waiting room.”

bullet “Rebecca threw up five times over the course of that Monday.”

bullet “ ‘If you won’t bring her (Rebecca) to the hospital, then I’ll beat you so the ambulance will come and take both of you!’” - James McGonnell

bullet “She was standing in front of Rebecca ‘screaming her name’ and Rebecca did not recognize her or respond.”

bullet “Rebecca was standing, leaning against the couch, knocking weakly on the Riley’s bedroom door and saying; ‘Mommy’ softly over and over again.”

bullet “Ordered back to bed by Michael who would yell at her, sometimes swearing at her.”

bullet “Rebecca was ‘gurgling like something was stuck in her throat’”

bullet “Carolyn stated that, when Rebecca was lying on her chest, she sounded like her chest was congested, but she ‘thought it was only a cold’.”

bullet “Michael wanted to give Rebecca ‘. Something to help her get back to sleep and stop keeping everyone up ...she needed extra!’”

bullet “Michael was emphatic that it was he who suggested the extra half Clonidine tablet given to Rebecca on Tuesday night stating; ‘If I hadn’t suggest it, Carolyn wouldn’t have given it to her, she would have been up all night and we would have to deal with Jimmy completely flipping out!’”

bullet “Michael stated that Rebecca was snoring as he fell asleep. Dr. Bundock noted that this could have been agonal respirations - irregular breathing which typically precedes death.”

bullet “At about 6:30 a.m. (0630 hours) she got out of bed, stepped over Rebecca and went to their son’s room to wake him up.”

bullet “Michael stated that he knew Rebecca was dead because of the way her body felt.”