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Colorado man charged in toddler's overdose death

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A western Colorado man was arrested and charged on Thursday with the death of his one-year-old daughter, who ingested a fatal amount of the painkiller oxycodone.

Manuel Angel Rivera of Clifton, Colorado is being held without bond on one count of reckless child abuse resulting in the death of his daughter, Analeisa, according to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

Heather Benjamin, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, told Reuters that Manuel Rivera made his first court appearance Thursday, and was advised of the charges against him.

Benjamin said the arrest warrant affidavit is sealed, so she could not say if the little girl was given the drug by her father, or if she swallowed the painkiller by accident.

Rivera, 30, also faces three counts of possession of a controlled substance.

On March 6, deputies were summoned to the Rivera home in Clifton, about 230 miles west of Denver, where they discovered the girl dead.

A three-week investigation culminated this week with the determination by the Mesa County Coroner's Office that the girl died from "oxycodone intoxication."

Oxycodone is an opium-derived painkiller, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers it a schedule II narcotic.

"Oxycodone abuse has been a continuing problem in the U.S. since the early 1960s," according to the DEA web site.