Thursday, December 16, 2010
Budget Cuts Force Police to Use Handwritten Flyers to Track Down Boy’s Killer
Appealing to the Community
In an attempt to find information about the murder suspects or links to their whereabouts, homicide detectives passed around handwritten reward flyers in the neighborhood where 14-year-old Eduardo Rivera was shot and killed a few weeks ago.
Rivera, a high school freshman, was playing at home when he answered a knock at the door and was gunned down by two unidentified assailants. Authorities believe the incident to be gang-related, but say the Riveras have no ties to a criminal element.
“There are a lot of families named Rivera in the North Viaduct area,” said Ren Williams, a police spokesperson. “In all likelihood, the killers had the wrong address. Which isn’t that surprising. They’re gang members. They dropped out of school, so they probably can’t read. Also, San Narciso has no gangs. Anywhere. It’s not that kind of a community. We believe that the killers ended up here by mistake, probably trying to get to L.A. or San Bernardino or Pomona. Places where that sort of thing goes on all the time. Places with trailer parks. You know what I mean.”
Complications with the Investigation
The City Council, despite budget problems, has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. But that reward has created a lot of controversy among police officers, residents and the Rivera family itself.
Police officers complain that without the money to put more detectives on the case or use advanced investigation techniques, passing out flyers will accomplish nothing.
“We had to write these things by hand on used construction paper given to us by the local elementary schools. We didn’t even have enough in the coffers to run these things off at a Kinkos,” complained one officer.
Residents told The Bennington Vale Evening Transcript that they couldn’t take the badly drawn flyers seriously.
Marvin Frena, a neighbor of the Riveras, said, “This has to be a joke. The cops are driving around here and stuffing these ridiculous papers in our hands, telling us they’ll cough up $10,000 for information. I asked one of these guys where that ten grand was coming from. He says, ‘Oh, well the City Council’s gonna have to raise your taxes to get the reward money.’ So, like, if I nail down one of these gang bangers and get the cops to arrest him, I have to pay the government to pay me the reward? That’s just crap.”
But the biggest victims in the case are the surviving members of the Rivera family. Felicia Rivera is a single mother with two other children to support. She lives on government assistance and has only a part-time job. She insists that she has no funds to cover the costs of the funeral, and no money is coming to her from the incident.
Frena said, “When they put that flyer in Felicia’s hand, it was devastating. It’s like going, ‘I know your son’s dead and that you’re broke, but if someone finds his killer, we’re gonna give ‘em ten grand. And oh by the way, we’re gonna raise your taxes for the reward money so that someone you don’t know gets rich. But you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your boy’s murderer will serve a year or two in jail. You’re welcome.’”