Nine-year-old boy found dead in burning car

SAYREVILLE, NJ – A disturbing incident took a horrific turn, involving a 9-year-old boy who was found dead in a burning car. This incident resulted in charges of arson against his father, as stated by the local police.

Late Thursday night, behind Sayreville War Memorial High School, police uncovered the dreadful sight of the burned vehicle. The boy’s father, 43-year-old Manuel Rivera, was found next to the car, soaked in gasoline, inflicted with self-harm, and burned, according to reports from the Sayreville Police Department.

The incident was reported around 10:45 p.m. when the police were alerted of a fire at the school. During the same time, a domestic dispute was reported by Rivera’s wife, leading to Rivera fleeing their home on Eisenhower Drive with their 9-year-old son.

Rivera was promptly transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital due to life-threatening injuries. Following his charges for second-degree aggravated arson, further charges are held pending as the authorities await autopsy results.

As per Superintendent Richard Labbe, the young boy was a student at Sayreville Public Schools and Rivera was an employee of the school district. Rivera was employed as a cafeteria worker/driver by the school in December 2023, reported by My Central Jersey.

In light of the distressing incident, Labbe encouraged members of the school community to provide support to the grieving family.