Autopsy Sheds Light on Jason Reish's Death

An assistant medical examiner testified for the prosecution in the felony hearing for Manuela Morgado, the Mamaroneck mother charged in her son's death.


Three ingredients commonly found in cold and cough medications appeared in preliminary tests of 4-year-old Jason “Jake” Reish’s urine, said Westchester County Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Virginia Richards in court today.

Although their names defy pronunciation—doxylamine, diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan—in tandem, they could have contributed to Jake’s respiratory depression, said Dr. Richards, who performed the boy’s autopsy.

During her examination of Jake, she noted, “a clear froth in his mouth and trachea,” a nonspecific sign of respiratory depression. Dr. Richards cautioned against a clear cause and effect, adding that many other factors can cause froth to occur including drug overdoses, strangulation, drowning and inhalation of gases, among others.

Several other factors may have played a role in Jake’s death—including breathing in helium gas and asphyxiation—although the extent to which they did is still up for debate until final toxicology and microscopic examination reports are complete, said Dr. Richards. Toxicology reports could take up to a few months to be completed, she said.

Judge Christie Derrico determined that there was sufficient cause to continue to hold Manuela Morgado—the 46-year-old Mamaroneck mother charged with second degree murder in connection with Jake’s death—pending further action by a grand jury.

Although Westchester County Department of Corrections officials have requested that Morgado undergo a mental health evaluation, Judge Derrico put off a ruling on this pending additional certifications that indicated why the evaluation was needed.

“He has to follow the rules,” said Derrico, referring to the offical who ordered the evaluation.

Morgado—who appeared only briefly prior to the hearing to sign two orders of protection against her for Dr. Tim Reish’s two sons—waived her appearance at the hearing. 

She returned to Westchester County Jail, where she is being held until further notice.

Prosecutors now have 45 days to obtain an indictment against Morgado.


Further reading

Laid to Rest: Community Mourns a Child Whose Life Was Cut Short

Mother Accused of Son's Murder Banned From Communicating With Boy's Father

Neighbors of Alleged Murderer 'Devastated'

Father of Dead 4-Year-Old: 'We Will Never Comprehend'

Investigation Continues into Child's Death; Mother Held Without Bail

Mother Charged With Murder of 4-Year-Old Son

Four-Year-Old Found Dead in Mamaroneck


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