Documents: Father accused of killing son left suicide note, sent disturbing video to wife

Law enforcement documents show that on Thursday, family members reported Manuel Rivera and his son missing after the 43-year-old threatened to kill the boy and himself.

Ali Reid

Apr 2, 2024, 9:55 PM

Updated 16 days ago

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Disturbing new details have been released about the events surrounding the death of a 9-year-old boy found inside a burning car on school grounds in Sayreville.
The boy's father, 43-year-old Manuel Rivera, has now been charged with first-degree murder.
According to an affidavit, Rivera left a suicide note and even sent a disturbing video to his wife prior to the incident.
Law enforcement documents show that on Thursday, family members reported Rivera and his son missing after the 43-year-old threatened to kill the boy and himself.
Police later were called to Sayreville War Memorial High School for reports of a vehicle fire. That's where investigators say they found the father sitting outside the burning vehicle with a cut around his neck and burn wounds. It's believed the 9-year-old was killed before the car was set on fire.
Police also say they obtained video surveillance showing Rivera pull into a parking space at the school, pouring a large amount of gasoline on his car-- and then setting it on fire.
Law enforcement documents show Rivera and his wife were going through marital issues. The documents state Rivera had sent his wife a video telling her he would see her in the afterlife, ultimately apologizing for his actions and asking to be cremated. Officials say a similar suicide note was also left at his home.
A candlelight vigil was held Saturday at the Sayreville Junior Bomber football field for the 9-year-old boy. Dozens of people came out to show support for the family.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office says Rivera remains hospitalized -- and because of that, has not been processed through the system to face that first-degree murder charge.


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