In May 2006, Rey Rivera disappeared from his North Baltimore home. Roughly a week later, his body was found in the second floor concourse of Baltimore’s historic Belvedere hotel. The 2020 Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries brought international attention to Rivera’s mysterious death. The Real News journalists Taya Graham and Stephen Janis have previously covered Rivera’s death, asking why his injuries were more consistent with being struck by a car instead of falling from a rooftop, as the discovery of his body suggested, Taya and Stephen return with Jayne Miller to break down the latest evidence in Rey Rivera’s death.

Post-Production: Stephen Janis


Stephen Janis:  Anyone who watches crime dramas could reasonably conclude that when someone is murdered, barring bizarre and extenuating circumstances, the case is solved. That is, through high tech forensics, moral resolve, or simply the near mythic competence of American law enforcement, killers are ultimately sent to jail. But as an investigative reporter who has worked in one of the most violent cities in the country for nearly 15 years, I can tell you this is not true.

Taya Graham:  And that is the point of this podcast, because unsolved killings represent more than just statistics; It’s a psychic toll of stories untold that infects an entire community, the final violent moments of a victim’s life that remain shrouded in mystery.

Stephen Janis:  I’m Stephen Janis.

Taya Graham:  I’m Taya Graham.

Stephen Janis:  And we are investigative reporters who live in Baltimore City.

Taya Graham:  Welcome to the Land of the Unsolved.

[music interlude]

Welcome back to the Land of the Unsolved. My name is Taya Graham. And today we are going to be discussing a case that made national headlines several years ago after it became the subject of Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries. The show jumped to number one in the US partly because of the story we will be exploring today: the death of Rey Rivera. And with the release of a new season of Unsolved Mysteries, we thought it would be timely to revisit the latest evidence and where the case stands.

In 2006, Rey Rivera, a 32-year-old filmmaker, left his North Baltimore home in a rush. He took only keys, a cell phone, $20 and a credit card, and then disappeared. For days family and friends searched frantically for him, but to no avail.

But then, one of Rey’s former colleagues from the financial publishing firm, Agora, spotted a hole in the second floor conference center attached to the historic Belvedere Hotel. And inside, police discovered a grizzly scene: the decomposing body of Rivera sitting below the hole, apparently dead from a fall.

But the day the body was found was not the end of the uncertainty surrounding Rey’s death. Instead it marked the beginning of a story of a young man whose death still remains shrouded in mystery. The police concluded Rey killed himself and shut down the investigation, but his family said it was simply impossible that Rey killed himself. They pointed to his decision to start a production company just before he died, his plans to move back to Los Angeles and shop a screenplay he had just finished, and his recent marriage to the love of his life, Allison. And the evidence of suicide was murky at best. Yes, there was a hole in the roof where Rey’s body was found, but there was not a single witness who placed him in the hotel the night of his death. In fact, security cameras that surveilled the staircase that led to the roof had been erased on the night he died.

All this has led to speculation about what really happened to Rey Rivera, a question we will try to answer today, because luckily I’m joined by my co-host Stephen Janis and Jayne Miller, who reported on the case when it occurred and also appeared in the Netflix episode, which examined the evidence and brought national attention to it.

So first, just for those who aren’t familiar with Rey Rivera’s case, could you please just give me a little bit of background on Rey, who he was, and what his life was like?

Stephen Janis:  He was, many say, a larger than life person literally because he was tall, he was six-foot-five, I think, handsome young man. Ambitious, from everyone I spoke to, who had moved to Baltimore based on the request of a friend who ran a financial publishing firm here in Baltimore. And, really, I think, wanted to be a filmmaker director, an active blogger, and a very curious mind, I think I would describe him.

Jayne Miller:  Yeah, I would agree. He wasn’t in Baltimore all that long before he met his demise here. But yeah, I think that would be accurate. He’s not a native Baltimorean by any stretch, but he and his wife moved to a house in Northwood in the Northern part of Baltimore City and settled in.

Stephen Janis:  And before he moved here, he was a water polo star. When he came here, he actually coached at Johns Hopkins. So he is someone who was involved in a lot of things, a well-rounded person, certainly not someone who sounds like they’re about to go on, you know –

Jayne Miller:  No, and I think it’s also interesting that, for the short amount of time he was here, he really developed some close relationships with folks. And when he went missing, there were a lot of people that turned out to try to find him, including members of the water polo theme at Hopkins and others in the community outside of his connections to Agora, the publishing company where he had worked and others who knew him in other ways. But definitely he had ties in the community.

Taya Graham:  I think that’s really important, how you mentioned that in such a short time he had already made such an impact on our community, made so many friends and coworkers who really cared about him. So I wanted to know, in this investigation, there are a lot of details that just don’t seem to add up. I think there’s two competing theories on what happened to Rey. Maybe you could flesh those out for me.

Stephen Janis:  So the first thing to know is that there’s two schools of thought – And Jayne’s going to talk about, actually, because we’ve looked at the investigative files – But just to lay out so there’s a framework for people. There’s a school of thought who think he did jump from the building or jump from a window and are obsessed with the angles and the speed because it seems like it would be very difficult for him to end up where he did based on jumping. But since the Unsolved Mysteries case and since the Unsolved Mystery series, Jayne and I have been flooded with people of all sorts of ideas, and some of them have been quite interesting and intriguing. One being that Rey Rivera didn’t fall from anywhere but instead was placed or beaten or killed there in the actual conference room or somewhere near the conference room, placed in there, and then a hole was made to make it look like he killed himself. So those are the two frameworks which we’ve been looking at with the case.

Jayne Miller:  I think we got to also set the scene here. So the Belvedere Hotel is an old building and it had this room that had been added on much later and it was an abandoned meeting room or ballroom or whatever. But what’s significant about it is it was accessible from the street because of the way the hotel’s entrances are. And it’s a place of public accommodation because it was, actually it had been converted to a condominium by the time this incident occurred. But it was originally a hotel and it had retail spaces on its ground floor and on its first floor. So it was an open building in that regard and people would come and go.

And the room that was where his body was found was accessible to the outside. You could come in from off of Charles Street, which we’ve done, and it is relatively accessible. It’s also accessible from the parking garage, which is attached to the building, and that’s also significant.

And then the third location – And we’re really talking here, just everything within the same block – Is the parking lot next to the hotel, open parking lot, surface lot, where his car was found. And the car was parked in a way that looked like he had arrived in a hurry and didn’t straighten it out, just parked it and left. I think it’s true that the significance of the questions about this have to do with, we’ve heard from no one who could put him in the building that night, that evening that he went missing, or at any time, until his body was found in the room.

Stephen Janis:  And let me just contrast, let me just add, because you’ve done such a good job of describing, anyone who’s seen the Belvedere hotel. If you go through the front entrance, there’s usually somebody sitting there because it is an apartment building, a condominium, there’s usually a security person, and there’s a bar. So there’s a lot of traffic of people coming in and out.

Jayne Miller:  In and out. Correct.

Stephen Janis:  Which contrasts very much with what you mentioned, the parking garage. There’s not as much traffic there. There’s not as many people just standing around. So the idea that Rey could suddenly just walk in the front and no one sees him is hard to believe compared to someone going down into that basement.

Jayne Miller:  Well, he apparently, we also had information at the time that he was known to frequent what was called the Al Bar, which is on the ground floor, the first floor of the building.

Stephen Janis:  So people knew him.

Jayne Miller:  Sure. So if he had been there that night, if he had been inside the building that night, somebody probably would’ve noticed it.

Taya Graham:  So there are some questions about the way Rey was found, and one of the strange details is that in the hole where he allegedly jumped or fell through, that it just had his cell phone and a pair of flip flops looking like they were placed at the edge of that hole. You’re an investigative reporter. Is there anything at that scene that stands out to you as being unusual?

Jayne Miller:  Well, it’s always struck me as unusual that the cell phone was intact. So if, in fact, he came off the 13th floor of the building, which is the roof, and this is technically the second floor, that’s a steep… It’s quite a distance. The cell phone was not broken, it wasn’t damaged. It just seemed odd at the time that… And there are pictures in the investigative file of, I think it was a flip flop, the cell phone, and where they were on the roof of that meeting room. And then the hole is… I have to tell you, this is strictly an observation, but I’ve always thought the hole looked like the kind of hole that someone was walking across a roof and hit a soft spot and punched through it with their leg.

Stephen Janis:  I would totally agree with that. It did not look like a hole made from an impact of 260 pounds from 13 floors up, which is 400 feet.

Jayne Miller:  And it just always struck me as it just didn’t seem to add up to… And then they have the injuries that are described in the autopsy, which have been noted significantly because there’s a leg injury that just doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of… I think we’ve had a forensic person look at that.

Stephen Janis:  Yeah, we had a forensic person who said it more resembled being run over by a car because of the nature of the fracture –

Jayne Miller:  Hit by a car.

Stephen Janis:  …Hit by a car rather than falling from a distance. And this is a person who analyzed accident scenes and just said she thought it was much more like he got hit by a car. So that’s another notch on the wall in terms of thinking about this case not being a matter of a fall or someone being in the hotel, but someone getting into that room some other way.

Jayne Miller:  And I think the other thing that’s important is to frame the coroner’s finding in this case in terms of manner of death. Obviously the cause of death were these severe injuries that he suffered, but the manner of death was left to be undetermined. So the police wanted to close this as suicide literally as soon as his body was found. And I thought it was interesting when we went through the investigative file that we received through public information request, is that the missing person investigation seemed to be pretty thorough. There was a lot of tracking down of his last steps and talking to people and family. Notably the detectives did not find that Rey suffered mental problems, he didn’t seem distraught. They could find no one that told them that in the time leading up to his disappearance. I thought what really struck me about the investigation is how quickly it stopped. It just seemed to stop, or at least the file that we have seemed to stop after his –

Taya Graham:  That’s interesting.

Jayne Miller:  …Body was found, it was just like… And there’s something that is, I have asked about this and I have yet to receive an answer, and that is that the parking garage adjacent to the Belvedere apparently had video surveillance, and the detectives inquired about it. And in the investigative file there are notes where the parking garage manager, whatever, said that the video from their cameras would be available on June 7th of that year. This is now about a week or two after his body was found. There is not one note, piece of paper in the file that says it was ever followed up.

Taya Graham:  Jayne, could you describe a little bit about how the parking garage connects to the concourse where Rey was found?

Jayne Miller:  Well, the parking garage is literally attached to the building, the Belvedere building. So it overlooks, if you get to the third or fourth level of the parking garage, it is open on the sides and you can look down onto the roof, which has the hole and where the cell phone was, et cetera, of that meeting room in which his body was found. So it’s significant that the parking garage is attached to the building.

Stephen Janis:  And when we walked through there, we found that you could get into the building from the parking garage –

Jayne Miller:  Correct.

Stephen Janis:  …There was a direct entrance –

Jayne Miller:  Correct.

Stephen Janis:  …That’s on the second or third floor.

Jayne Miller:  Not locked. You walk through.

Stephen Janis:  You could just walk in there. And also, similarly, you could walk up from the back of the basement. So there’s a basement, and on the first floor that Jayne talked about with retail, you could actually get into that concourse from there as well.

Jayne Miller:  Correct.

Stephen Janis:  It was locked and you couldn’t get up there, but there was a staircase that went up there. It’s pretty eerie.

Taya Graham:  I have to ask the question, and there might be some people who are listening who are wondering the same thing. Why would a police department want to close that investigation so quickly? What would be a possible motive for wanting to rule this as suicide, closing out the case so fast?

Jayne Miller:  Well, I can answer that from a media perspective. Okay. So from a media perspective, the minute that there is the specter of suicide over a case, media coverage stops, media doesn’t cover suicides.

Taya Graham:  That’s interesting.

Jayne Miller:  So if you want to end interest in something as an investigator or whatever, then if you start to put the specter of suicide on something, you’re going to lose media attention, and you’ll lose the public attention, too. And look, this had all the markings to be what they call a red ball case. This isn’t a gunshot victim, which obviously Baltimore has more than its share of gunshot victims. This wasn’t something that seemed to be a corner dispute about something. This was a very different kind of case. And it’s also the kind of case that could be difficult to solve because he had perhaps a lot of connections in his life and his business associations, his associations personally, et cetera, in something like this that you really have to run out. And this isn’t your everyday investigation, no question about it.

Stephen Janis:  And as you point out, he was an employee of Agora, which is one of the largest employers in Mount Vernon with 2000 employees, I think –

Jayne Miller:  …400, something like that.

Stephen Janis:  Is it 400 in Mount Vernon by itself?

Jayne Miller:  Yeah.

Stephen Janis:  Yeah. So it’s a complicated case. Because –

Jayne Miller:  And Agora was very, very insistent, in my reporting with discussions I had with their lawyer, was that they saw no connection to his death and Agora and the company.

Stephen Janis:  And… Go ahead, I’m sorry.

Jayne Miller:  And they were very insistent, and that very hard line was drawn, and were very… They commented on a few things, but they were very reluctant to comment on much of anything.

Stephen Janis:  Yeah. The only way I got anything about Agora, just because it was of interest, because that’s where he worked when he came to Baltimore, was just to talk to people off the record who would pick up the phone and talk to me. But really no one at Agora would ever give me a comment on the record or anything official.

Jayne Miller:  The other thing I think that’s interesting is, here we are now in 2022, the Netflix episode, which got global attention, no question, July of 2020, probably because it was also the pandemic, a lot of people were watching streaming at that time. So it definitely got a lot of eyeballs. And it’s the kind of story that generates everybody’s own theory of what happened.

But the other thing that happened, which happened as a result of that episode, was I received some information that I thought was real information, not speculation, not somebody from afar saying, oh, this is what probably happened. But these were people that were familiar with Rey, they were familiar with Rey’s business associates, and they were filling in a few blanks.

Rey’s wife, Allison, who obviously has devoted a lot of the time and attention to her pursuit of what really happened to Rey over all these years, it’s always been her theory that this is the kind of case that somewhere, someone’s going to pry open a lid to something. And once that happens, the whole story will be there. And I think that all these years have passed and we’ve gotten some hints of it, but we haven’t yet been able to throw open that lid and really answer this one way or the other. The problem is that this is a case that doesn’t have a clear answer to what really happened.

Taya Graham:  So Jayne, I know you’ve been reviewing the notes that you made on the case. Is there anything you found in there that suggests to you that Rey didn’t jump?

Jayne Miller:  Well, if he jumped, then they would suggest that he was trying to take his own life. So what’s in the notes from the detectives that they found nobody that would say he was suicidal, was mentally distraught. There was no note left. There was a note taped to the back of his computer, but it was just a weird note and we’re not positive he wrote it. There were some references to things, but it clearly wasn’t a clear suicide note. In fact, the FBI ruled at the time, their opinion at the time was that it was not a suicide note. So I think that stuck out to me when I went through the file, is that they interviewed a lot of people and they went through financial records, et cetera, and they didn’t find anything, no one told them anything that would suggest that he was distraught.

I have notes from when he disappeared, I have notes from when he was found, I have notes from a year later when we did the story, and then I have notes from when the episode aired in 2020 which filled in some of the blanks.

I think that, for example, there was somebody that worked in the building that told me that Rey went missing, I think, on the 16th of May. And they started to notice an odor in the building on the 19th. But it’s another five or six days until his body is found, because the room was never used. And then she described the inside of the room as what would indicate to me is that it doesn’t indicate a fall, but it indicates that something may have happened in the room.

Now there’s no witness to any of this, there’s no witness to him coming off the roof, there’s no witness to him going in that room, there’s no witness to him coming in off the street. We know a big missing piece of this whole thing is that security cameras were inadvertently deleted. The footage from that day. So that obviously would be a critical piece, would provide, perhaps, some critical information.

So the problem is that you have bits and pieces of information from people who were in the building that day, in the building a lot because they worked in the building, knew this or knew that. But to try to put it together into a puzzle that makes sense has really been the biggest challenge.

Stephen Janis:  Well Jayne, let me raise something, because you and I both got a ton of tips and people contacting us. And one theme that came from a bunch of people who said they were familiar with it but wouldn’t identify themselves was they really were pushing me – And I don’t know if you got this – But to look at ways that Rey’s body could have been brought in there were or killed there. But they all felt pretty confident from what they’d heard that Rey did not fall off the building in any way, shape, or form. One time we actually went looking, because they said there were tunnels underneath Mount Vernon that they could have brought Rey in, and we found that wasn’t true, we checked that out and it wasn’t true.

But I was in constant contact with people who were urging me to look at the way the body could have been brought in there or that the hole in the roof and that suicide was a red herring of a really major variety. And it could be an amazing red herring. That hole has definitely taken any attention off other ways that this could have happened in other –

Jayne Miller:  Absolutely.

Stephen Janis:  Correct?

Jayne Miller:  Well, because what the hole does is that it provides an answer, or a possible answer. Oh, well he came off the roof. Oh, he came off the side of the building, because he went through the roof. And you’re right, that is exactly what that could be, because there’s nothing to refute it specifically. There is a possibility of what may have happened in the parking garage. Did something happen in the parking garage? Was he in the parking garage? And again, the investigative file shows that the parking garage was ready to provide security footage for review by investigators, but it doesn’t appear –

Stephen Janis:  But they never picked it up.

Jayne Miller:  …We don’t know. We don’t know.

Stephen Janis:  That’s true. We don’t know.

Jayne Miller:  We can’t find any record that they actually went and looked at the video.

Stephen Janis:  From everything we can tell, just so people understand, homicide has this Lotus Notes program from the ’90s, but they put in daily reports of what they do. They’re called progress reports. And the progress reports stop around June.

Jayne Miller:  And really, really abruptly. Correct.

Stephen Janis:  And because you’ll see, Jayne and I have both reviewed homicide files, and you’ll see there can be points where nothing happens, but then three weeks later you say, we received a call or something.

Jayne Miller:  Correct.

Stephen Janis:  But this is total stone silence, cut off. Just like somebody said that’s enough. We dealt with this. We’re not… Because there’s not even anything from getting a random phone call or anything.

Jayne Miller:  No. And they were… In fact, I think the last thing that I found notes on in the file was at the end of June of 2006 when they interviewed Rey’s former friend and person he came here to work with, and met with that person and a lawyer. And that seemed to be the last thing that was noted in the file.

Stephen Janis:  Now I want to talk about something that frustrates me about that file, because there’s certain things that the police could’ve done. And I made a call to a homicide detective who was in the DEA, because over those seven days, there are a lot of things in that file that are missing. But one of them is that one way police can use to figure out what happened is just ping their cell phone. It’s a common thing to do, and it could have been done in the aughts. And yet there’s nothing in the file about pinging his cell phone. If they pinged his cell phone, they would’ve known where he went that day. Why on earth would they not do that, Jayne?

Jayne Miller:  Well, I’ve seen Rey’s telephone records, but I’ve seen them because Allison has them, his wife. I don’t find anything in the file where I think they took his phone, but I don’t see any reference to what was on the phone.

Stephen Janis:  No, they never got a warrant or anything to look through his phone, or to look through the numbers, or to figure out who –

Jayne Miller:  That’s what it appears. There’s no reference to it.

Stephen Janis:  That’s what it appears. You make a good point. We don’t know for sure. But there’s nothing that I see in there. But to me the big mystery is where did Rey go? If he went to Fells Point or he went somewhere that would give you some clues, if he went straight to the Belvedere, that would give you clues. All those things are discernible with the technology that existed that time. And I think –

Jayne Miller:  Well, the biggest question is why did he go there? We know he went –

Taya Graham:  That’s a great question.

Jayne Miller:  …Went to. We know he went there because –

Stephen Janis:  Do we know?

Jayne Miller:  Well, we know his car went there.

Stephen Janis:  We know his car went there, we know his body ended up there.

Jayne Miller:  And we know his body was there.

Stephen Janis:  We don’t know where he went between leaving that… And I think from the notes you have, you can surmise he died pretty quickly. He wasn’t wandering around Baltimore.

Jayne Miller:  Yes. If there’s an employee of the building that says we started… Yeah, correct.

Stephen Janis:  Three days.

Jayne Miller:  Exactly. Three days later you’re starting to smell an odor in the building. Correct.

Stephen Janis:  Someone said, his brother Angel had told me he’s six-foot-five, he’s not going to be inconspicuous. And so I think we know that he didn’t drive around Baltimore for three or four days, but of course we don’t know exactly where he went when he ran out of the house. He didn’t tell –

Jayne Miller:  We do know, however, that his car was in that parking lot the next morning.

Stephen Janis:  Yes.

Jayne Miller:  Because there was a ticket on it. So we know that it was there. So we don’t know when it arrived, but we know it was there at least by the next morning.

Stephen Janis:  Now the other thing missing from the files that I find quite annoying, that is generally in homicide files, because we review them, are statements, like statements from the people who found the hole in the roof. I think that would be of great interest. I’m not saying there’s anything untoward, but where are the statements? Wouldn’t the homicide detectives have asked them, what made you decide to go look at the hole in the… I think that’s a reasonable question.

Jayne Miller:  You’re right. These are normally things that are included. There are statements from people, well there’s interviews, I should say there are interview summaries.

Stephen Janis:  Summaries, synopsis, but not –

Jayne Miller:  Correct. That the detectives have written based on their interviews with people relevant to the investigation.

Stephen Janis:  The reason I bring this up is because every detective I let look at this says, well, the first thing I would’ve done with the people that found the hole was take them down to homicide. And that doesn’t mean they’re suspects, but get a written statement from them and put it in the damn file. And that, to me, just shows absolutely either negligence on the behalf of the police or something worse, because that’s just basic detective work. I think that speaks to your… Not your theory, but your thought about how incomplete the file is that someone just said, whatever we found the body, that’s the main thing. And after that, we’re not really going to be curious about any other aspect of the case.

Jayne Miller:  Well, they have a body, they have a hole in the roof.

Stephen Janis:  What else do they need?

Jayne Miller:  What else do they need?

Stephen Janis:  And as you pointed out many times – And you can talk about this – Is that this is the point and shoot city, where you point a gun and you shoot. And that’s what people expect in homicide.

Jayne Miller:  Well, the vast majority of our cases that involve both suspicious death and homicide involve gunshots. This is a very different kind of case. This involves an extraordinary amount of trauma and some injury that has been questioned about whether it really would be indicative of a fall. But to the point, yes, they have a body underneath a hole in the roof, and that roof is below the top roof of a 13-story building. So it’s like, okay, well that’s what happened.

Taya Graham:  So looking in from the outside to this case, we see the hole in the roof. We see that with his flip flop, cell phone, sunglasses case, it could almost appear to be staged, you know that Rey was living his best life. He had friends that were looking out for him. He had just gotten married, he was working, he had just finished a screenplay. This doesn’t sound like a man who was suicidal, but it doesn’t necessarily sound like a man who has enemies. Is there any theory as to why he might have been killed if this wasn’t a suicide?

Jayne Miller:  Yeah, there you go. That’s the even bigger question is it would seem that he was not the victim of a random crime because of the circumstances that we know of, his location, where his body was found, et cetera. So that’s a good question. There doesn’t appear to be anything in the information that was gathered in the week he was missing by detectives that were working a missing person’s case. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that he had a threat against him, someone who was trying to do him harm. There’s nothing in the file that indicates that.

Stephen Janis:  And to Taya’s point, which is a great point and a great question, if someone did kill him this way, they are good at what they do. These are not some random person who got into a fight with Rey and just decided to kill him. They staged a killing and staged a suicide and made it convincing enough to fool the Baltimore Police Department.

I’m not going to comment on how easy or hard it is to fool the Baltimore Police Department. But you’re looking at people who were smart, and if they killed Rey someplace else and then came up with the idea to put him in the hotel, you need to think about that.

And, Taya, I think that’s a great question, because that takes some planning and some thinking, it’s not just a random thing like, let’s dump his body in the… You could easily have dumped his body in the harbor somewhere. But it would’ve raised suspicion, but you came up with the one way to make it ambiguous enough so that police could take that out and say, you know what? We can call this a suicide because there’s a hole in the roof and his body was right below it and –

Jayne Miller:  And we don’t have any witnesses.

Stephen Janis:  And we don’t have any witnesses. And that is something of what I would say would be a professional hit kind of thing. And that, Taya, raises the question, who would want to kill Rey Rivera, for what?

Jayne Miller:  Well, and we get back to the circumstance of how he left… According to the woman that was staying in the house, the friend who was staying in the house at the time, Rey was working on something, got a phone call, and was like, oh, got to go. Like oh, forgot, got to go. So he left the house in what she described in somewhat of a hurry. And the way he parked his car in the parking lot where his car was found suggests that he parked in a hurry. So does that mean he was called to meet somebody? Does that mean, what? What does that mean? And we don’t know. We don’t know what that… Because we don’t have anybody that is filling in that blank. Who called him? What was the point of the call? Why was he in a hurry to get there?

Stephen Janis:  But the one thing we do have, or don’t, is not a single person who said that he was contemplating suicide, angry, or distraught. The last person that spoke to him was a person who worked at Apple, at an Apple store and had rented him editing equipment so he could edit a project that he had been working on. So what we don’t have is anybody who said, oh yeah, Rey was suicidal. There’s just nobody that… Did you ever talk to anybody?

Jayne Miller:  No. And that’s what I mean, the detectives didn’t find anybody that would tell them anything like that either.

Stephen Janis:  Well, let’s think about it this way. People kill for two reasons, love or money. I don’t want to sound… But that’s basically most of the cases I’ve covered. So it’s one or the other. And –

Jayne Miller:  Well, sometimes people kill people to keep them quiet, too.

Stephen Janis:  Right, and that usually has to do with love or money.

Jayne Miller:  At the beginning of the story.

Stephen Janis:  But you’re right, you’re right that those two very simple ideas evolve and branch off into very complex reasons. But Rey didn’t have any business entanglements to speak of. He –

Jayne Miller:  That we know of. That’s correct.

Stephen Janis:  …That we know off. He wasn’t running some offshore company. So it really, I think that, I guess that’s why people are so obsessed with this case, because the mystery is so confounding.

Jayne Miller:  Sure. And it doesn’t have clear cut answers. That’s exactly right. It has –

Stephen Janis:  Not even close.

Jayne Miller:  …And it has elements of it that cause questions to be asked and raise suspicion about things that we don’t have firm answers to. So this is the kind of case where it’s easy for people to fill in the blank.

Taya Graham:  Well, I want to thank you, Stephen Janis, and you, Jayne Miller, for joining me for this episode of Land of the Unsolved. Wherever you’re listening to Land of the Unsolved, whether it’s on Anchor or Apple with iTunes, please make sure to leave a comment below to let us know what you think happened to Rey Rivera. I’m your host, Taya Graham, This is Land of the Unsolved. Thank you for joining me.

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Host & Producer
Taya Graham is an award-winning investigative reporter who has covered U.S. politics, local government, and the criminal justice system. She is the host of TRNN's "Police Accountability Report," and producer and co-creator of the award-winning podcast "Truth and Reconciliation" on Baltimore's NPR affiliate WYPR. She has written extensively for a variety of publications including the Afro American Newspaper, the oldest black-owned publication in the country, and was a frequent contributor to Morgan State Radio at a historic HBCU. She has also produced two documentaries, including the feature-length film "The Friendliest Town." Although her reporting focuses on the criminal justice system and government accountability, she has provided on the ground coverage of presidential primaries and elections as well as local and state campaigns. Follow her on Twitter.

Host & Producer
Stephen Janis is an award winning investigative reporter turned documentary filmmaker. His first feature film, The Friendliest Town was distributed by Gravitas Ventures and won an award of distinction from The Impact Doc Film Festival, and a humanitarian award from The Indie Film Fest. He is the co-host and creator of The Police Accountability Report on The Real News Network, which has received more than 10,000,000 views on YouTube. His work as a reporter has been featured on a variety of national shows including the Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries, Dead of Night on Investigation Discovery Channel, Relentless on NBC, and Sins of the City on TV One.

He has co-authored several books on policing, corruption, and the root causes of violence including Why Do We Kill: The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore and You Can’t Stop Murder: Truths about Policing in Baltimore and Beyond. He is also the co-host of the true crime podcast Land of the Unsolved. Prior to joining The Real News, Janis won three Capital Emmys for investigative series working as an investigative producer for WBFF. Follow him on Twitter.