$5 million cash bail set in Camden child stabbings

CAMDEN, N.J. - September 4, 2012

Defendant Osvaldo Rivera wept and wimpered throughout the Tuesday afternoon hearing. Security was extremely tight, and Rivera was surrounded by sheriff's deputies.

Authorities say he is the man who broke into the Ware Street home of two children early Sunday morning, killing a 6-year-old boy by slashing his throat after first attacking his 12-year-old sister and slashing her throat before she escaped to alert a neighbor. That neighbor called police.

According to the prosecutor, the little brother had come to her rescue and ultimately sacrificed his own life to save hers.

"He distracted and caused the defendant to turn his attention to the 6-year-old, and the 12-year-old at that point was able to get out of the house," said Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk.

The 12-year-old girl, who's had two life-saving surgeries and is in critical condition at Cooper University Medical Center in Camden, told police she was raped in the course of being attacked by the man known around the neighborhood as Popi.

"While still in the presence of Camden officers, she stated, 'Popi raped me," said Assistant Prosecutor Christina Shah.

The prosecutor says they have a full confession from the 31-year-old Rivera, plus his blood spattered clothing. He told them he was high on 'wet,' a mixture of marijuana and PCP, when the attacked these two children.

"The defendant did speak with homicide investigators, and during that statement he made admissions, including asking investigators, 'How bad did I hurt them?'" said Shah.

At least 20 members of the victim's family were in court Tuesday. They held their grief and horror throughout the hearing. But as Rivera was led from the courtroom there were some outbursts and some collapses by the victims' parents.

Earlier Tuesday we found Rivera's family moving out of the house where he lived. It is just a few doors from the murder scene. A police patrol car has been posted since he was arrested.

Rivera was granted a court-appointed lawyer. He is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder but prosecutors say more charges will be filed.

The 6-year-old boy was found dead with his throat slit in his home on the 900 block of Ware Street about 2:00 a.m. Sunday.

Police say they found blood-stained sneakers in the apartment where Rivera was found hiding on Sunday. Those shoes matched bloody footprints at the scene of the crime, authorities said.

A nearby resident, Nakyta McCray, told Action News she was able to call 911 Sunday. McCray says the 12-year-old victim rushed out of her home banging on neighbor's doors.

"Dispatch asked me, 'Was the girl still alive?' I went to the house and saw her sitting there with her throat cut open and barely breathing," McCray said.

Inside the home, Camden Police discovered the girl's younger brother was dead. The killer also slashed his throat.

Two other siblings, including a teenager, were also in the home. They, however, were uninjured.

"The older sister kept crying that the other two little kids were in the house. I went down to try to get the two little kids, but I seen a bunch of blood, called for officer and he walked in the house and said there was another victim, it was her little brother," McCray said.

The children's mother had been in the hospital recovering from surgery. Sunday happened to be the girl's 12th birthday.

Neighbors have expressed shock over what happened.

"I can't sleep. It could have been anybody's child, not just her. My prayers go out to the family," said neighbor Karina Mejia.

Authorities say they are extremely concerned about the use of wet in Camden, and they want to get the message out that this is an extremely dangerous drug which has already lead to deadly consequences.

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