Sayreville Murder Dad Kills Son

The death of a 9-year-old boy at the hands of his father in Sayreville was intended to be a murder-suicide, according to police paperwork obtained by Daily Voice.

Sayreville PD

Sayreville PD

Photo Credit: Sayreville PD

Manuel Rivera, 43, recorded an apology video following a marital dispute he’d been having with a “witness” just before leaving an Eisenhower Drive home with the 9-year-old boy Thursday, March 28, according to an affidavit for probable cause obtained by Daily Voice.

“We spoke to a witness who indicated that her and Mr. Rivera were having marital issues and that he sent her a video to her phone,” Sayreville Police Detective Jose Rosario writes. “I watched the video in which Mr. Rivera is apologizing fo this actions and advising the witness to cremate him and [redacted].”

According to police, the note reads, in part:

“This is how it ends for me and [redacted I know we couldn’t live without each other. Today is the day that death does us part.”

The first 9-1-1 call came in at 10:45 p.m., police said. That one, for a vehicle fire behind Sayreville War Memorial High School. There, police found Rivera outside of a four-door Nissan with burns and gashes to his throat area, Rosario said.

Seven minutes later, police got a call from someone on Eisenhower Drive saying her stepfather, Rivera, was missing and had left the house with her 9-year-old brother. The caller further indicated that Rivera had been threatening to kill himself and the child, Rosario said in the affidavit.

Surveillance from 820 Washington Road shows a four-door Nissan pull into a parking spot. Moment later, it erupts in flames, police said. After the fire, Rivera emerges from the car until police and firefighters arrive, according to Rosario.

Further investigation found “a lot” of gasoline throughout the car. Clothing found at the scene was also drenched in gasoline, Rosario noted.

The body of a child was found in the back of the car and at no point did Rivera attempt to care for the victim, police paperwork says.

A cause of death for the 9-year-old boy has not been revealed.

Rivera was hospitalized in critical condition, and charged with second-degree aggravated arson, first-degree murder, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and second-degree desecration of human remains, Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said.

According to Sayreville Schools Superintendent Richard Labbe, Rivera was employed by the district, and his son was a student at the Wilson School.

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