(UPDATE) Father in custody for starvation death of 3-year-old girl

child starvation death suspect carlos rivera
Carlos Rivera, 30, is considered a person of interest in the child’s death.
Credit: Philadelphia Police

Philadelphia police on Monday took into custody the father of a 3-year-old special needs girl who starved to death early Monday morning at a West Oak Lane home that investigators described as squalid and flea-infested.

Officers were first called to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where they found Nathalyz Rivera, 3, had been brought into the emergency room shortly before 2 a.m. and pronounced dead.

She weighed just 11 pounds and showed “obvious signs of neglect,” according to Capt. James Clark of the Homicide Unit.

“This is one of the worst cases of abuse that I’ve seen in my five years down in homicide unit,” he said.

“It’s very sad and very disturbing. I saw the photos, and even for me, they were very difficult to look at.”

The medical examiner ruled Rivera’s death a homicide and determined its cause to be starvation.

The child’s father, 30-year-old Carlos Rivera, was allegedly with his five children at their home on the 7300 block of Sommers Road when he around midnight found Nathalyz inside the bedroom.

Investigators said he noticed the child wasn’t breathing.

“Instead of calling police or the ambulance, [he] called the mother, who was over a male friend’s house,” Clark said.

“The mom and friend came to the house, took the baby and transported her to the ER, where she was pronounced.”

Investigators believe neglect is primarily to blame.

“The house was in such bad shape that we believe she had some bruises and things of that nature that may have been from fleas or insects or rodents biting her, but we don’t believe there was any physical abuse at this point,” Clark said.

He did note that, despite Nathalyz’s ”severe disabilities,” she hadn’t been taken to see a doctor or any medical personnel in over a year.

Both the child’s mother and her male friend were on Monday being questioned by detectives, and Clark said he “fully expected” the mother would be charged in connection with the tragic death.

Carlos Rivera, who was wanted for questioning as a person of interest in connection with the case, allegedly took off about 1 p.m., dropping off his four other children – including the victim’s twin brother – at the home of a family friend.

Those children – aged 9, 8, 7 and 3 – were hospitalized for evaluation and will then be remanded into the custody of the Department of Human Services.

Following a search for Carlos Rivera, police shortly after 5 p.m. announced he was taken into custody without incident at Front Street and Duncannon Avenue.

He is considered a person of interest in the child’s death.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…