Crime & Courts

Aug 16, 2013 12:31 AM by Tara Grimes (tara@krtv.com)

Harless charged in overdose death of infant grandson

GREAT FALLS - Tracy Harless has been charged with negligent homicide in the death of her grandson, 1-year-old Riley Percy Padilla.

On Thursday, Harless made her initial appearance in court; her bond was set at $75,000.

Padilla's body was found in Harless' house on 5th Avenue NW on Sunday, July 28th; police officers spent more than 12 hours processing the scene, interviewing people, and gathering evidence. The body was taken to the state crime lab in Missoula for an autopsy the next day.

Court documents say that the autopsy revealed the baby died from an overdose of oxycodone, and that the levels found in the baby's body would have been fatal even for an adult. Preliminary lab results also indicated the presence of cocaine.

A blood sample taken from Harless on the day the baby died indicated that she also had oxycodone and cocaine in her system.

During the investigation, detectives learned that Harless has a prescription for oxycodone, and based on the dosage, prescription records, and the number of pills recovered from the home, there were 31 pills missing.

Court documents state that during the investigation, Harless told an officer several times that she had been responsible for Riley getting "the pill."

The investigation also revealed evidence of illegal drug use in the house, including marijuana, four glass bongs, a marijuana grinder, and a safe commonly used by drug dealers.

Cascade County Attorney John Parker says that cases like this take a lot of time and dedication, and officials look at all aspects before filing charges

Parker said, "Without commenting on any specific case, there's always a very thorough police investigation and a rigorous review of medical evidence. That forms the basis of the decision for whether or not charges will be filed."

Parker says if anyone has any information about the events leading up to Riley's death to call Detective Dan Smith at 406-771-1180.

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