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N.J. dad left suicide note, apology video before killing son, burning car: police

A New Jersey father charged with killing his son and burning his body left behind a suicide note and an apology video, according to police.

Manuel Rivera, 43, penned a handwritten note and left it in the family’s garage in Sayreville, according to charging documents obtained by the Central New Jersey Home News Tribune.

Cops said Rivera also recorded an apology video and sent it to his wife, NJ.com reported. In the video, Rivera apologized for his actions and said he’d see his wife in the afterlife, according to investigators.

“I know we couldn’t live without each other,” the suicide note allegedly read. “Today is the day that death does us part.”

On Thursday night, Rivera took his 9-year-old son, identified by the Home News Tribune as Christian Rivera, from the family’s home in Sayreville, according to police.

Around 10:45 p.m., cops found Rivera sitting outside a burning vehicle behind Sayreville War Memorial High School, investigators said. Christian Rivera’s body was burning inside the vehicle.

Investigators said Rivera killed his son before setting the car on fire. Rivera was sitting in the car when it went up in flames, but he decided to exit as the fire raged, according to police.

The scene was captured on surveillance video, and cops said it shows, “At no time is Mr. Rivera seen attempting to care for the victim,” according to the Home News Tribune.

Rivera was taken to a local hospital on Thursday night with burn injuries and a throat laceration. He remained there on Monday, NJ.com reported. In the meantime, he was charged with murder, aggravated arson, child endangerment and desecration of human remains.

According to police, Rivera and his wife were having marital problems before he killed his son and tried to take his own life.

After police had already arrived at the high school scene, Rivera’s stepdaughter, 26, called 911 to report that he’d left their house threatening to kill himself and his son, according to NJ.com.

Christian Rivera was a third grader at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, and Manuel Rivera worked at War Memorial High as a part-time cafeteria worker and driver.


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