Netflix premiered the first six episodes of its reboot of the true crime favorite, Unsolved Mysteries. Episode 1, “Mystery on the Rooftop,” explores the 2006 case of Baltimore man Rey Rivera, who was found dead in the Belvedere Hotel one week after he went missing. But how did Rivera die? Keep scrolling below for details.
Who was Rey Rivera?
Rivera was a 32-year-old writer and freelance videographer. Just six months before his death, he married his wife, Allison Rivera.
The couple was living in Baltimore’s Original Northwood neighborhood. At the time of his death, Rivera had been working for his best friend, Frank Porter Stansberry, at a finance company Stansberry and Associates. Allison said the couple only planned to live in Baltimore for 24 months before they wanted to relocate to Los Angeles so Rivera could pursue his dream of a career in film.
Rivera went missing one week before his death
On May 16, 2006, Allison said her husband made her breakfast before she left for a business trip that morning. A friend who staying at their home as a house guest said Rivera then answered his phone and left wearing his flip-flops. Allison said he rushed out the door “like he was late for something.” After Allison finished work later that evening, she called her husband but he had not answered.
The next morning, their friend called and said Rivera had not returned home since the night before. Allison returned home and called Rivera’s family members.
Rivera’s older brother, Angel Rivera, was also interviewed for the documentary. The radio producer traveled from Orlando, Florida to Baltimore, along with the couple’s friends and family, to help look for Rivera. His friend, Stansberry, put up a $1,000 reward for anyone who came forward with information about the disappearance.
On the sixth day of the search, relatives eventually found Allison’s car, which Rivera left in a parking garage near the Belvedere and Stansberry and Associates. While looking down from the top of a nearby parking garage, three of Rivera’s coworkers saw a hole in one of the roofs at the hotel with a pair of flip-flops next to it.
2 Days. "Mystery on the Rooftop" is the story of a beloved Baltimore man, his suspicious death, and a family searching for answers. What happened to Rey Rivera? #unsolvedmysteries #suspicious pic.twitter.com/1wXpyMWsm7
— Unsolved Mysteries (@Unsolved) June 29, 2020
Rivera’s body was found at the Belvedere Hotel
After noticing the hole, the three men called the police. Members of the Baltimore Police Department searched inside the hotel. Rivera’s body was found inside of a used, old church room with fatal injuries, underneath the hole that was previously spotted. Among his injuries were laceration, fractured ribs, punctured lungs and broken shins.
What was Rivera’s cause of death?
Police ruled Rivera’s death as a suicide and they assumed he jumped off the roof of either the hotel or the parking garage to his death. However, the medical examiner’s office labeled Rivera’s cause of death “undetermined” because his injuries with inconsistent with a fall.
Michael Baier, the retired homicide detective who worked on Rivera’s case, revealed his opinion during an interview for the documentary. “To me, it looked staged,” he said.
Were there suspects in Rivera’s death?
No one was officially identified or investigated as a suspect in Rivera’s death.
Rivera’s widow offers a motive
“I think he turned over some rock and he shouldn’t have turned it over. But I know that he didn’t kill himself,” Allison said.