Who is Manuel Rivera Sayreville, NJ Man Charged with Son Christian Rivera’s Death?

Manuel Rivera, a Sayreville, NJ man has been charged in connection with the death of his 9-year-old son, Christian.

Christian Rivera was found set ablaze in his father’s car near a High School in Sayreville township.

Authorities arrested Manuel, who suffered some burns and injuries in the fire he set.

Manuel reportedly had a domestic argument before deciding to set his son ablaze and now faces charges of arson and murder.

Manuel Rivera Sayreville NJ

manuel rivera sayrevile nj

Manuel Rivera, 43, of Sayreville NJ, has been charged with arson and murder in connection to the death of his son, Christian Rivera.

9-year-old boy Christian Rivera died after his father’s car was found burned behind a school in Sayreville.

Authorities from the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office and the Sayreville Police Department said 43-year-old Manuel Rivera survived the blaze and was being treated for injuries at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

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Police said Rivera left his home with his son after a domestic dispute Thursday night.

Authorities responded to Eisenhower Drive where they located a woman, Christian’s mother, who reported a domestic dispute with Manuel led to Rivera leaving the home with their 9-year-old son.

On Washington Road, near the rear of the Sayreville War Memorial High School, police found Rivera alive with burns to his body and a self-inflicted wound.

Police found him next to his burning car behind Sayreville War Memorial High School which had been doused in gasoline and lit on fire.

christian rivera sayreville

Investigators believe Rivera burned it on purpose with his son still in the car.

Witnesses spotted the flames from down the block.

“Flames and it was black smoke, and it was pretty big. Like it was pretty big and we thought it was the high school. We thought it was the building,” said Emily DePascale.

According to records, Manuel Rivera is employed as a cafeteria worker and driver in the Sayreville school district in NJ.

A Board of Education agenda shows he was hired effective Jan. 1 to June 30, 2024.

His son, Christian Rivera, was in the third grade.

Mayor Kennedy O’Brien released a statement saying the community is safe and “stands in solidarity” with the child and his loved ones.

“On this Good Friday, Sayreville is waking up to learn of a horrific incident that occurred overnight that shakes our community to its core: the loss of a nine-year-old child, allegedly at the hands of a parent. Any time such senseless violence involves one of our children, it gravely affects all of Sayreville,” O’Brien wrote.

Sayreville NJ Police statement on Manuel Rivera

Sayreville Man Charged With Murder in Connection to the Death of His 9-Year-Old Son

​Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Daniel Plumacker of the Sayreville Police Department announced today that Manuel Rivera, 43, of Sayreville, has been charged with Aggravated Arson, Murder, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Desecration of Human Remains.

​On March 28, 2024, at approximately 10:45 P.M., authorities received a 911 call reporting a fire on the area of Sayreville High School, while responding to the call an additional call came in reporting a related domestic dispute.

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Authorities then responded to Eisenhower Drive in the Borough of Sayreville, upon their arrival, officers located a female victim, who alerted the authorities of a domestic dispute that led to Manuel Rivera, 43, of Sayreville, leaving the home with their 9-year-old son.

Authorities on scene at Washington Road, near the rear of Sayreville High School, found Rivera alive but with burns to his body and a self-inflicted wound.

Next to Rivera a vehicle was located that was doused with gasoline and on fire. Rivera was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital where he is in critical condition and being treated for his injuries.

​Initial investigation has revealed that the body of a deceased child was found in the vehicle. Based upon the results of the autopsy Rivera has been charged with second-degree Aggravated Arson, first-degree Murder, second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and second-degree Desecration of Human Remains.

​Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to call Detective Michael Pirigyi of the Sayreville Police Department at 732-727-4444 or Detective Jose Rosario of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-3289.

Related – Man Kills Son and Himself

liam and seamus dempsey warwick ri

The tragic story of Manuel Rivera of Sayreville NJ comes few weeks after a Warwick man shot and killed his son and himself.

Seamus Dempsey shot and killed his son Liam and then himself, at 71 Frawley Street Warwick RI, in a tragedy that stunned the nation.

Police responded to a home on Frawley Street just before 8:30 a.m. for a domestic disturbance.

They had been informed that a suspect was in the home with a gun and a child had been shot.

When officers breached the home, they found the deceased body of the child as well as that of an adult male who was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Warwick police on Thursday named the victims as 33-year-old Seamus Dempsey, who killed his son, 4-year-old Liam Dempsey, and then himself.


Sayreville is a borough in Middlesex County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Sayreville is within the heart of the Raritan Valley region, located on the south banks of the Raritan River, and also located on the Raritan Bay.

As of the 2020 United States census, the borough’s population was 45,345, an increase of 2,641 (+6.2%) from the 2010 census count of 42,704, which in turn reflected an increase of 2,327 (+5.8%) from the 40,377 counted in the 2000 census.

Sayreville was originally incorporated as a township on April 6, 1876, from portions of South Amboy Township.

On April 2, 1919, the borough was reincorporated as the Borough of Sayreville and ratified by a referendum held on April 29, 1919.

Native Americans were the first settlers of Sayreville. Tribes of the Navesink lived along the South River where Jernee Mill Road is located today.

Predating the incorporation of Sayreville, the Morgan Inn (later known as the Old Spye Inn) was established in 1703 in what is now the Morgan section of Sayreville.

Charles Morgan III and his descendants, including Major General James Morgan and Lieutenant Nicholas Morgan, played significant roles in the Revolutionary War.

The Morgan family lived in the area for over 200 years and many family members, including Evertsons, are buried in the privately owned Morgan Cemetery, which overlooks Raritan Bay.

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