Mom charged in baby’s fatal heroin overdose

Christine Rivero, 29, of Sharon Hill, left, was charged with third degree murder in the July 15 death of her infant son, Niccolo Varner, right of Collingdale.
Christine Rivero, 29, of Sharon Hill, left, was charged with third degree murder in the July 15 death of her infant son, Niccolo Varner, right of Collingdale.
Posted: November 10, 2012

A Delaware County woman was charged today with murder in the death of her 11-month-old son who died after ingesting heroin.

Christine Rivero, 29, of Sharon Hill, stood in shackles on Friday morning before Judge Horace Z. Davis. She is charged with third degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and other related crimes. She was remanded to Delaware County jail with no bail.

On July 15 the baby, Niccolo Varner of Collingdale, was taken by paramedics to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital after police were called 8:24 a.m. to a home for a baby in respiratory distress. The child was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

At the time, Rivero was detained by police for possession of drug paraphernalia and questioned about the circumstances surrounding the child's death, according to a police report.

District Attorney Jack Whelan said the mother told investigators she left the baby with his five-year-old brother in the tub the night before and that the child struck his head. She put the baby to sleep and found him unresponsive the next morning.

Toxicology results found the baby died of acute heroin intoxication.

"This child was given or consumed heroin," said Whelan.

A preliminary is set for Nov. 13, Davis said.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149, mschaefer@phillynews.com or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

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