Harless Charged with Negligent Homicide - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Harless Charged with Negligent Homicide

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Several weeks after a one year old child lost his life, questions surrounded the child's death.  A Great Falls woman was arrested yesterday, and today she made an initial appearance in Justice Court.

A very emotional Tracy Harless has been charged with one count of negligent homicide. 

According to court documents it was on the morning of July 28th that Great Falls Police responded to a call of a one year old child being unresponsive.  When authorities arrived, the child, Riley Padilla, was declared dead at the scene.  It was then that detectives found out Padilla had been living in the home with his mother, aunt, and grandmother Tracy Harless.  Information relayed was that Harless had been babysitting Padilla the night before while the mother was at the fair.  When Harless asked if she could retrieve her prescription oxycodone, but the request was denied due to the investigation.

According to charging documents, Harless said the child struck his head on a coffee table at around 2pm the day before.  The incident did not concern Harless at the time as the child had reportedly not suffered any significant injuries due to the fall according to first responders.  The child later fell asleep in the arms of Harless, which she said was unusual behavior by the child.

After the mother arrived home and checked on riley several times she did not notice anything unusual until around 11:45am when she thought it was unusual for him to be sleeping that long.  It was then that she noticed her one-year old son unresponsive.

During the investigation officers found evidence of illegal drugs and its use along with other items including a safe used for storage.

Detectives then learned that Harless had a prescription for oxycodone and that thirty one pills were missing according to the prescription records.

An autopsy revealed that Padilla had died from a fatal drug overdose of oxycodone at a level that documents state "would have been fatal to an adult," and that small traces of cocaine were in the child's system.  Test results also revealed during the investigation that Harless had traces of oxycodone and cocaine in her system as well. 

Bail was set initially at $200,000, but was lowered to $75,000.


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