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Father charged with 2nd-degree murder in drowning of 2-year-old girl

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Father charged with 2nd-degree murder in drowning of 2-year-old girl

Mother charged with child abuse

  • Sean Hughes
    PCSDSean Hughes
  • Heather Rivas
    PCSDHeather Rivas

The father of a two-year-old girl who drowned Tuesday night has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Both he and the mother have been charged with child abuse.  Victoria Rivas died at the hospital after her father found her in an unsecured pool at a Northwest Side home, authorities said.

Sean Hughes, 23, and 25-year-old Heather Rivas were arrested following an investigation, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.

The girl may have been in an in-ground pool for up to 15 minutes before her father found her drowning, authorities said.

"Detectives learned the gate to the pool, which had a functioning lock, was propped open and the doggy door leading to the backyard/pool area was unsecure," Deputy Tracy Suitt said.

"A search warrant was served and detectives found drug paraphernalia indicative of possible drug use," he said.

"At the time of the incident, the victim's father ... was responsible for her care, as her mother was taking a nap," Suitt said.

The girl was taken by paramedics to Banner-University Medical Center after being called at 7:16 p.m., said Capt. Adam Goldberg, a Northwest Fire District spokesman. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, Suitt said.

The girl was found in the pool of a home in the 6600 block of North Harran Drive, near West Orange Grove Road and North La Cholla Boulevard. The couple were house sitting at the home, authorities said.

Both Hughes and Rivas were booked into the Pima County jail, Suitt said.

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