‘Unsolved Mysteries’: How the Rey Rivera Crime Scene Was Botched, According to Book, Witnesses
Tips continue to pour in for several cases in Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries, and “Mystery on the Rooftop” is filling social media threads with new information, theories, and facts that weren’t included in the documentary.
The Rey Rivera case is still open and was initially deemed “undetermined” in 2006.
While the details surrounding his death are strange, some aspects of the investigation baffled viewers and the amateur sleuths on the internet. Here’s where some believe the official probe went wrong.
Rey Rivera’s personal items weren’t bagged
It should be noted that “Mystery on the Rooftop” is based on a book by Mikita Brottman called An Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere.
Brottman, a literature profressor, not only lived in the Belvedere Hotel (which were converted to condos) at the time of Rivera’s death, but she spent a decade investigating and researching the case. After gathering all the information, she published the book in 2018.
In her book, she stated that when Rivera’s body was discovered, curious residents watched the cops move around and collect evidence. She saw the hole from her window and noticed how the police were handling Rivera’s personal effects on the roof.
Brottman wrote that one officer picked up a flip-flop and threw it down to another officer on a lower-level roof. He repeated it with the second one, and it accidentally landed on the other officer’s head. They laughed.
She wrote, “I do not see them putting anything in an evidence bag, taking photographs, or checking for fingerprints.”
In the episode, Allison Rivera mentioned that she didn’t know how one of her husband’s flip-flops managed to get torn. And what about the drag marks on said flip-flops?
Belvedere residents weren’t questioned
Brottman wrote that after authorities located Rivera’s body, she remembered something. She heard a crash in the middle of the night a week prior, but upon looking out the window, didn’t see anything.
Brottman marked the event in her journal. She later realized she heard the sound the night of Rivera’s disappearance.
She also shared that she wasn’t questioned by the police once during the investigation, and to her knowledge, neither were her neighbors.
The crime scene was left wide open
Several accounts from those in the Belvedere indicated that the room where Rivera’s body was found was not sealed up. No police tape. No signs. No locks.
One Reddit user claimed to have been a Truffles employee when everything happened. Truffles was the catering company located in the office next to the empty office space where Rivera was found.
The person wrote, “The crime scene was never secured. Once Rey’s body was removed, some staff (not myself) from Truffles and the doctor’s office (also located on the second floor) were allowed to look in on the scene. It was described as looking as if “someone threw red paint on the walls” and the room was filled with maggots and flies.”
In Brottman’s book, she recalled how she explored the scene after things died down. “I assume the door will have been sealed by police tape and I’m surprised to find it propped open—to get rid of the smell, I imagine. There is nothing to prevent me from entering the room.”
Police assumed it was a suicide
Brottman spoke with an investigative journalist who explained that the Baltimore Police didn’t dig into evidence enought to deem a case a homicide. Bogged down with murders in the city, details had to be “unusual” enough for a case to stand out and require extra work.
Rivera’s death was thought to be suicide, and that designation is probably what prevented the medical examiner from showing up on the crime scene to collect evidence.
Further, former detective Michael Baier stated he was reassigned from the case. His bosses believed he was wasting time framing it as a homicide and not a suicide.
The Redditor above mentioned that Rivera frequented the hotel’s Owl Bar with co-workers and was seen on the 13th floor the night he went missing. According to the post, he was seen on video entering the Belvedere, and the footage was shown on multiple news stations at the time.
At some point, Rivera’s case was reclassified from “undetermined” to homicide, and Unsolved Mysteries is still accepting tips.