By: Kristen Hegel
“She was a very sweet girl,” Maria Rodriguez said about the murder of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. “She was the type of little girl who likes her presence to be known. It’s just so sad.” Rivera was abducted from her apartment complex playground on Friday afternoon and her body was found on Monday, just three days later.
Rivera’s body was found in a dumpster near her home. She was disfigured, bludgeoned, and suffered from stab wounds. Autopsy results revealed that she was sexually assaulted and killed within 60 to 90 minutes of being kidnapped. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. “This was a very calculated and planned crime,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director, Vernon Keenan, said. “A child who dies under extreme violence is absolutely the worst thing that can happen to a human being.” Keenan refused to go in depth about Rivera’s wounds because they were so severe.
So far, investigators have scanned the apartment complex searching possible suspects. Though police have interviewed sex offenders currently residing at the complex, no arrests have been made. “We have no reason to believe, at this point, that sex offenders are involved,” Keenan stated. Detectives are sure, though, that the killer either lives in the complex or has access to it.
Residences of the complex have expressed concerned. “Every day children play out here. It’s starting to become a dangerous place for them. If it’s happened to one little girl already, it could happen to someone else. I hope they catch whoever did it soon,” Jeremy Gibson, a complex resident, said about the safety of the children. “I’m very concerned,” 17-year-old, Drew Baucom, said.” It makes me feel like my home life is violated, that I can’t trust somebody walking around that you think you may know, but you really don’t. It just worries me that something else will happen like this.”
According to a second-hand account, Rivera’s mother said she was “friendly, sweet, had lots of friends and everyone just loved her.” As DNA evidence is being collected and tested, the brutal murder of Rivera will remain under investigation.