Death of girl, 6, is ruled a murder — (Chicago Tribune)

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Chicago Tribune

By Jo Napolitano, Tribune staff reporter    jnapolitano@tribune.com

Published March 3, 2006

A newly released toxicology report shows that a 6-year-old Dolton girl found dead in her home in January died of an overdose of an anti-depression medication called amitriptyline.

A spokeswoman from the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Thursday that Kierra Garner’s death has been ruled a homicide.

No one has been charged with the child’s murder.

The girl was found Jan. 5 lying in bed next to her mother, Patrice Garner, who was unconscious.

The mother was taken to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey where she remained in a coma for at least a day, waking only intermittently. She has since been released from the hospital.

Sean Howard, a spokesman for the village of Dolton, said the same antidepressant found in the girl was also detected in her mother.

He said that the medication is not recommended for young children.

Howard said he expects to “gain closure in the case in a limited amount of time.”

Kierra’s father, Grady, a doctor who often traveled out of state, was in California at the time his daughter died.

He immediately returned to Illinois and was cooperative with police, officials said. Police continue consulting with him.

Howard would not say where the medication came from and would not speculate on how the child ingested the drugs.

Dolton police are leading the investigation, working alongside state police, the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

“We want to make sure whoever is responsible for Kierra’s death is brought to justice,” Howard said.