Prosecutor: Sayreville father accused of killing son, setting car on fire, dies from his injuries

Manuel Rivera faced multiple charges, including murder and aggravated arson for the March 28 incident.

Matt Trapani

Apr 17, 2024, 9:00 PM

Updated 34 days ago

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A Sayreville man accused of killing his 9-year-old son and setting their car on fire after a domestic dispute died from his injuries, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Manuel Rivera faced multiple charges, including murder and aggravated arson for the March 28 incident.
Law enforcement documents show that 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 Rivera 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. Officials say Rivera’s injuries were self-inflicted.
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.
Rivera died on Wednesday, officials said. He was being held at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.


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