August 5, 2005 in Nation/World

Signs of cocaine in toddler shot by police

Los Angeles Times
 

LOS ANGELES – An autopsy revealed evidence of cocaine in the body of Suzie Marie Pena, the toddler who died in a shootout between police and her father, who was using her as a shield, officials said Thursday.

Medical tests showed that the toddler’s urine contained the drug benzoylechgoneine, which cocaine metabolizes into in the human body.

The autopsy showed the presence of a trace amount of the drug, according to Craig Harvey, spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner.

Experts said it could have been ingested or inhaled. One official said the cocaine could have been eaten, come from breast milk, or been breathed in the form of dust.

Police found cocaine and narcotics in the room where Raul Pena held his daughter hostage. Both died in a shootout with Los Angeles Police Department officers in which Pena fired 40 rounds. Family members said the man was despondent, and had taken drugs and alcohol.

Results of the autopsy showed that a police officer fired the shot that killed the 19-month-old girl during the standoff in a Watts auto lot.

Pena, 34, died of multiple gunshot wounds. His daughter, Suzie Marie Pena, was shot once in the head.


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