'Unsolved Mysteries' on Netflix sparks new interest in Rey Rivera case

Could the new attention to the case solve a 14-year-long mystery?


A 14-year mystery is drawing new interest through a series that recently debuted on Netflix.

Rey Rivera was a 32-year-old writer who disappeared in May 2006. His body was found eight days later under bizarre circumstances.

Allison Rivera has gone without answers about the death of her husband for 14 years.

"I think living without answers is a really hard thing," she said. "Human beings, we like to put things in a box, then kind of move on."

Rey Rivera's body was found in May 2006 in a meeting room of The Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. A hole in the roof suggested he fell from a height. Mystery has prevailed ever since.

This month sparked new interest in the case. The Netflix series "Unsolved Mysteries" featured the Rey Rivera case in its opening episode.

It was the first time Allison Rivera spoke so publicly about her loss and frustration of not knowing what led to her husband's death.

"There's an answer out there. Somebody knows something, and if that's just seeing him or the phone call that was made, there is an answer out there, and I thought this would be a platform in which, just lay the facts out there and see if there is somebody out there that knows something," Allison Rivera said.

Since the series started streaming, the sister station WBAL has received questions and theories from people far and wide. It's that kind of case: strange, open to debate and no clear answer.

In 2006, Baltimore police quickly leaned toward suicide, but the medical examiner left the case open with a ruling of undetermined.

Around 6 p.m. on May 16, 2006, Rey Rivera left the couple's Northwood home, seemingly in a hurry after receiving a phone call. His car was found in a lot next to The Belvedere. A parking ticket suggested it had been there overnight on the night of May 16.

His body was found eight days later on May 24 after former co-workers at a publishing company saw the hole in the roof.

Days later, a bizarre note was found taped to a computer Rey Rivera used. The FBI said it wasn't a suicide note.

Allison Rivera has lived with that note, and other writings of Rey's, all these years with no clearer picture of its meaning.

"I clearly do not believe that (he took his own life). I do not believe that, not at all," Allison Rivera said.

Did Rey Rivera fall? Was he pushed? Police found no one who could place him inside The Belvedere that night.

"I don't want to believe it's not suicide. It has really been — what's happened and then let me sort my emotions out from there. Let me work through maybe there was regret. So I have really been very open to whatever answers may be placed in front of me," Allison Rivera said.

She hired an expert who determined Rey Rivera would have had to get to a running speed of 11 mph to make a jump from the roof of the building to reach the location of the hole.

No witnesses came forward.

Could the new attention to the case solve a 14-year-long mystery?

"You fight for the people you love, and I love his family, and I loved him more than anything, and you fight for those answers so you can have some kind of peace, and I think everybody in this world would want that," Allison Rivera said.

Baltimore police homicide Maj. Steve Hohman told WBAL the case is officially open and it was never officially ruled a suicide.

Detective Bier, featured in the film, was not the primary investigator on the case. He was not reassigned to get him off the case. His transfer to SAFE Streets taskforce was his request and investigation into this case continued after his transfer. Bier's view/opinion of the incident are not the official view of the BPD.

While much of the evidence and information is not definitive, there is no conclusive evidence to make a determination that the incident is a homicide. For those reasons, it is appropriate for the case to remain open and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to keep the cause "undetermined."

"While the case is classified as open, the department has not received any new evidence for follow-up. We welcome any additional information that may assist investigators with the task of bringing forth closure to the family and friends of Ray Rivera," Hohman said.