Andres Rivera did not wake up on Monday morning thinking he’d be coming to the rescue of a small child. But when he passed by a brown Chevrolet van with doors and windows closed and a young girl crying, asking for help, he knew he had to do something.
Rivera told a 9-1-1 operator shortly after 8 a.m. that he was unsure of the condition of the child’s apparent mother, who was in the van. “I don’t know if she’s sleeping.”
He referred to the crying child as “baby girl” and he explained to the dispatcher, “The baby, she told me TO call the police.”
The child reportedly told Rivera she just wanted to go to school. Her mother was discovered unconscious in the van. According to a Boca Raton police report, she was suspected to be suffering a heroin drug overdose.
The 9-1-1 operator asked Rivera to give the child the phone. She explained that she was 4-and-a-half, almost five. The child responded to questions about her parents, claiming that her mother is a nurse and her father works at a casino.
The young child was surprisingly composed in her recounting of how her mother went to sleep the night before and she could not wake her in order to go to school Monday morning. She can be heard on an edited police recording saying, “Last night she fell asleep, and again and again, over and over and over. … I don’t know what happened to her.”
The child also said that her father was at home during the time, but it is not clear as to whether or not the child and mother live with him. She added that her father was going to pick her up from school.
The dispatcher tells her young phonemate, “Good job, baby!” Then she thanked Rivera for coming to the girl’s aid as firefighters continued the care for both mother and child.
Paramedics administered Narcan to Colleen Jezrel Nichols, 30, who reportedly had a positive response to the drug used in suspected cases of “life-threatening” drug overdoses.
The mother denied using heroin. When an officer asked if she knew where her daughter was she said, “I don’t know, I must have blacked out, I’m under a lot of stress,” according to the report.
Nichols was transported to the Boca Raton Regional Hospital for examination before being taken into custody. She was arrested on suspicion of child neglect. The girl, who reportedly turned 5 on the same day, is with family.
Nichols was released from a Palm Beach County jail on a $1,000 bond. She has been ordered to have no contact with her young daughter while the Department of Children and Families is investigating the case.