☑ 9-year-old Christian Rivera was found burned to death inside a car doused in gas, according to officials

☑ Officials said his father, Manuel Rivera, was outside the car with gas on his clothing

☑ Manuel Rivera was hospitalized with serious burns and a cut to his neck

SAYREVILLE — The father charged with allegedly burning his 9-year-old son to death inside his car died from his injuries on Wednesday.

The boy identified by family as Christian Rivera was already dead when police found him inside a car that had been doused with gasoline and set on fire while parked at Sayreville War Memorial High School on March 28. Video showed Manuel Rivera, 43, outside the car with burns and a self-inflicted cut on his neck in clothing soaked in gasoline, according to the affidavit in the case.

Video shows Rivera, 43, made no attempt to get his son out of the vehicle.

Rivera was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his son  He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital where he remained in critical condition until his death, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone.

The Christian Naszier Rivera Memorial Relief Fund on GoFundMe continues to accept donations to help his family with funeral costs and loss of income.

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Memorial for Christian Rivera at the Sayreville Junior Bomber football field 3/30/24
Memorial for Christian Rivera at the Sayreville Junior Bomber football field 3/30/24 (Listener submitted)

"Today is the day that death does us part"

The death of Christian Rivera began as a "domestic dispute," according to the affidavit in the case. Manual Rivera threatened to kill the boy before he left their house on Eisenhower Drive. Officials said his stepdaughter called police to report that they were missing.

Rivera's wife told police that she and her husband were having "marital issues." According to the affidavit, Rivera sent her a video apologizing for his actions and suggested he be cremated. He also told his wife he would "see her in the afterlife," the affidavit said.

A handwritten suicide note with a similar message was found in the garage of his home, according to the affidavit in the case.

“This is how it ends for me and (redacted). I know we couldn’t live without each other,” the note read. “Today is the day that death does us part.”

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