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NJ man arrested after 9-year-old son found dead inside burning car

Manuel Rivera, 43, of Sayreville, New Jersey, has been arrested and charged with aggravated arson after setting fire to a car, where his nine-year-old son was later found dead.

A 9-year-old boy was found dead inside a burning car after his father doused the vehicle with gasoline and set it on fire at a New Jersey high school following a domestic dispute at their family home, authorities said.


Manuel Rivera, 43, of Sayreville was charged with aggravated arson, according to a news release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and additional charges were expected. It was not known Friday if Rivera had retained an attorney.

Sayreville police went to the family's home around 10:45 p.m. Thursday and were told Rivera had left the residence with the boy, whose name was not released. Around that same time, a fire was reported in the area of Sayreville War Memorial High School.

When police arrived at the school, they found Rivera next to the burning car authorities said he had doused with gasoline. He had burns to his body and a self-inflicted wound and was taken to a hospital.

The boy's body was found in the vehicle, but it was not yet known if he died in the fire or before it was set. No other injuries were reported.

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