Grand jury probe planned into death of girl, 11

Precious Wallaces, 11

LAWRENCE — Documents related to a search warrant were sealed and a grand jury investigation is planned into the death of an 11-year-old girl in a Jackson Street apartment in mid-December. 

A recently issued judge's order in the case refers to a "defendant," but does not specifically identify the person. 

Precious Wallaces, a sixth-grader at the Consentino School in Haverhill, died Dec. 18 at Tufts Medical Center in Boston after falling into a coma four days earlier.  

Exposure to fentanyl, a manmade opioid, or another toxic substance may have killed the girl, who was visiting her uncle at 233 Jackson St., Unit 5, when she became ill, according to investigators. 

A warrant to search the building at 233 Jackson St. was obtained Dec. 17, the day before Precious died, according to court records. 

However, the search warrant, a supporting affidavit and other documents that will be returned to the court all were impounded by Lawrence District Court Judge Holly Broadbent on Dec. 21, according to a copy of the judge's order. 

Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall asked for the search warrant and associated documents to be impounded because "public release of this information at this early stage would likely prejudice an ongoing Grand Jury investigation" and "jeopardize" both the state and an unnamed "defendant's interests in a fairly conducted investigation, Grand Jury presentation and trial," according to the judge's order. 

MacDougall, who is  the chief of the Essex County Family Crimes and Sexual Assault Unit in Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office, asked for the documents to be sealed until March 28. 

Broadbent granted the order until Feb. 21.

Just before 3:30 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 15, a police dispatcher sent an officer to the Jackson Street apartment building after a caller said "a baby ate a bunch of candy and is now bleeding through the nose and mouth." The child was also having a hard time breathing, according to a recording of Lawrence Police Department audio from that morning. 

Shortly afterward, a police sergeant asked for state police investigators to be called to the apartment building. 

Police said the girl and her brother routinely visited an uncle who lived in the Jackson Street apartment building. 

The name "Miguel Rivera" was listed on a mailbox for Unit 5. 

Attempts to reach Rivera, as well as others related to Precious, have been unsuccessful.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.  

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