Son charged for murder after mom found dead in DeBary home

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DeBary, FL – The son of a woman found dead in her DeBary home Wednesday afternoon has been charged with first-degree murder in her death. Police here said David Rivera, 30, was taken into custody late Wednesday outside a Save-a-Lot grocery store in Deltona, where deputies spotted him and recognized him as a person of interest developed in the investigation into the death of his mother.

“He was linked to the homicide using an ANDE Rapid DNA system that allowed deputies to quickly process blood found on his clothing,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

The victim, 55-year-old Belgica Rivera, was discovered unresponsive around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in her home at 261 Sunrise Boulevard.

“Responding deputies and detectives observed signs of a struggle and a large amount of blood on and around Ms. Rivera, who was pronounced deceased at the scene. Her injuries appeared to have been caused by an edged weapon,” the department said in a statement. “Through interviews and further investigation, detectives learned the victim had been in an argument with her son about three days ago, and that he had a history of violent and threatening behavior toward her.”

A BOLO (be on the lookout) alert was issued for Rivera, and around 10:30 p.m. a Sheriff’s Office watch commander spotted him outside the Save-a-Lot at 1382 Howland Blvd., Deltona. Rivera initially resisted deputies by providing a false name and resisting efforts to identify him using a Rapid ID fingerprint scanner.

Upon taking Rivera into custody, deputies noticed dried blood on his clothes. Using the ANDE Rapid DNA instrument, detectives were able to process the DNA sample from the blood on Rivera’s clothing and discover it matched the victim’s. The ANDE technology shortens the time it takes to process DNA evidence to hours rather than days, weeks or months.

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Rivera made spontaneous statements to detectives that implicated him in his mother’s death. Other evidence from the scene also linked Rivera to the homicide.

Rivera’s previous arrests include one that stemmed from a 2016 incident involving his mother. After an argument, Rivera climbed a tree and killed one of his mother’s dogs by hanging it. He threatened to hang himself as well, but was eventually taken into custody after an approximately 8-hour standoff with deputies. Rivera was charged with felony animal cruelty in that incident.

He is being held without bond today at the Volusia County Branch Jail on a charge of first-degree murder.