The Garfield County Coroner’s Office has determined methamphetamine intoxication as the cause of death for a 5-year-old girl who died in Rifle late last year.
“On Dec. 11, 2019, at approximately 3:44 a.m., the Garfield County Coroner’s Office was dispatched to Grand River Hospital in Rifle, CO, for a death investigation involving a 5-year-old girl,” a Wednesday press release from the coroner’s office says.
“The subsequent law enforcement and coroner’s office investigation suggested that the child may have ingested methamphetamine,” the release states.
An autopsy was completed that same day, and details from the toxicology report confirmed that “the decedent had a very high level of methamphetamine in her system,” the release adds.
Sophia Larson’s death resulted in the arrests of the girl’s mother, Stephanie Alvarado, and her two cousins. Alvarado, 26, Daniel Alvarado, 27, and Bertha Ceballos-Ramo, 28, each face a charge of child abuse resulting in death, a class 2 felony, for which the presumptive range of penalties include between eight and 24 years in prison.
They were released from jail on the night they were arrested after posting bond. All three face additional charges of possession of a controlled substance and reckless endangerment.
The manner of death was certified as an accident. “The manner of death is a medical classification for statistical purposes and the manner of death certification has no bearing on criminal justice proceedings, or if law enforcement or a prosecutor should or should not charge a person for a violation of criminal statute,” the coroner’s release adds.
Stephanie Alvarado is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 26. Daniel Alvarado next appears on Feb. 20, the same day Ceballos-Ramo is due back in court for an arraignment.
In addition to the three aforementioned charges, Ceballos-Ramo also was charged with evidence tampering.