‘He is always with girls’
LAWRENCE — Carlos “Mago” Rivera, the 47-year-old man who dropped off an unconscious 13-year-old girl at Lawrence General Hospital shortly before she died this spring, may have committed sex- and drug-related crimes against “more than a dozen” other potential victims, including minors, according to a spokeswoman from the Essex district attorney’s office.
Court documents obtained by the Globe, which include descriptions of interviews and other evidence collected by investigators, reveal how he allegedly lured teenage girls to his apartment, offering them drugs, alcohol, and money in return for sex acts.
A search of Rivera’s phone by investigators on May 25 revealed more than 7,000 photographs of girls “estimated to be in their teenage years,” according to an affidavit, and numerous pornographic web searches, some which were done in the early hours of May 20, the day of 13-year-old Chloe Ricard’s death.
“He is always with girls,” one woman told detectives. Rivera plastered their photographs — “over 100 pictures of girls” — all over his bedroom in his Lawrence apartment, the woman alleged.
The new revelations paint a chilling portrait of the man at the center of an ongoing probe into Chloe’s death and the widening scope of the investigation.
Rivera, who was arrested on May 25, faces multiple felony charges in connection with Chloe’s death, including aggravated rape of a child, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, two counts of distributing cocaine to a minor, one count of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, and distribution of fentanyl.
More charges may follow.
“We are conducting an active grand jury investigation that could result in more indictments against Mr. Rivera,” Essex DA spokeswoman Carrie Kimball told the Globe.
Rivera pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment in Essex County Superior Court on July 19 and is being held without bail.
The documents provided to the Globe include a copy of the May 29 search warrant for Rivera’s home and a 13-page affidavit outlining probable cause for the search.
A Globe reporter requested the files at Lawrence District Court on July 2, and a clerk handed them over. Essex County officials later said the documents were released prematurely. The records were initially supposed to remain impounded until Aug. 26. They have since been re-impounded until Sept. 27.
The affidavit contains descriptions of law enforcement interviews with Rivera, as well as with two of Chloe’s teenage friends who told police they were with Chloe, an Amesbury resident, at Rivera’s apartment the day before she died. It also includes descriptions of interviews with two women who said they were familiar with Rivera, including one who said she had been to his home “about 50 to 60 times.”
The records also reveal new details about the events preceding Chloe’s death, including her last hours, during which she was allegedly struggling to breathe on Rivera’s couch. A toxicology screening performed during the autopsy indicated the 13-year-old tested positive for cocaine and fentanyl, the affidavit states.
According to interviews in the affidavit, Rivera video-recorded his assaults on the teen girls he lured to his first-floor apartment at 59 Bellevue St. in Lawrence and solicited sexually explicit photographs from the girls he victimized.
During the May 29 search of Rivera’s apartment, authorities seized three black boxes of photographs, an HP laptop, a Night Owl digital video recorder, a PlayStation 4, cases of thumb drives, handwritten letters, a red notebook, and “various dangerous weapons.”
Investigators first searched Rivera’s apartment on May 21, the day after Chloe’s death, according to the affidavit. On a step outside that led to Rivera’s doorway, police found a pair of women’s underwear. Inside the apartment, they observed various bottles of alcohol and disconnected “video/surveillance” cameras.
The search uncovered various items allegedly intended to cater to his female visitors: women’s clothing and undergarments stuffed in a few drawers of a bureau, and toiletries — “Summer’s Eve, maxi-pads, and shampoo” — in Rivera’s bathroom. Police also found a drawer full of “dangerous weapons,” including nunchucks and metal knuckles.
On the floor of his apartment, investigators spotted “a white straw that is commonly used to snort narcotics” and a pair of black sneakers with pink tongues that police later identified as belonging to Chloe.
A mechanic by trade, according to investigators, Rivera also allegedly sold drugs, such as fentanyl, pills, cocaine, and marijuana, a woman told police. The woman, who identified Rivera as her “main dealer” in an interview with investigators, said she had been to his apartment dozens of times.
She told investigators she bought “one gram of dope” from Rivera at 7:30 p.m. on May 20, about three hours after Rivera dropped off an unconscious Chloe at the hospital.
The woman told investigators she “used to party” at Rivera’s apartment “five or six years ago.” Teenage girls as young as 13 would be there, she said, and Rivera would claim they were his cousins. But one of the girls opened up to her, she said, and told her the girls weren’t actually related to him.
“Carlos would pull out drugs and expect you to do stuff with him sexually,” the woman told police, and he would record these encounters on his phone. In her interview, she also accused Rivera of attempting to sexually assault her and of raping one of her friends.
Still, she admitted to police, she invited other girls to Rivera’s home because “she knew if she had sex with them he would video tape it and then give them free drugs.”
The woman’s account of Rivera’s apartment corroborated investigators’ findings during their search. In his drawers, Rivera kept girls’ underwear, she said, that he had “pre-bought to give you” and sometimes, he would have “outfits for her to put on” when she arrived at his home. His bathroom, meanwhile, “was just loaded up with women’s products,” she said, such as razors, loofahs, and soaps.
Another woman interviewed by investigators said she’s known Rivera “for many years” and called him by the nickname “Mago.”
“Carlos is always with young girls and does everything and anything for them,” she told detectives.
Girls would frequent his apartment for a bottle of alcohol, she said, and he would demand a sex act in return. In the interview, the woman said Rivera would supply her with alcohol, drugs, and money when she was younger, and in exchange, she would allow him to perform oral sex on her.
She said girls would send Rivera pictures “in which they are depicted in a sexual nature,” which Rivera allegedly would delete upon receipt. According to the affidavit, investigators “believe that locating these photographs will enable them to identify other victims.”
In his interview with police, Rivera denied using drugs. He also said no drugs were used at his apartment and that he never had sexual contact with Chloe or her teenage friends.
The affidavit does not mention whether Rivera confirmed or denied selling drugs.
Chloe, who would have turned 14 on July 21, was a talented artist and loving friend, according to her family and friends. She was in the eighth grade at Solstice Day School, a therapeutic school in Rowley for students with learning, mental health, or behavioral issues.
Drawing helped Chloe cope with her father’s death six years ago, her family said, and she wanted to be a tattoo artist when she grew up. But, as her mother told reporters, Chloe had begun hanging out with the “wrong” group of friends.
On Sunday, May 19, Rivera picked up Chloe and two of her friends, both teenage girls whose interviews are included in the affidavit. He drove them to Salisbury Beach for fried dough, according to police interviews. They went back to Rivera’s house, but only for 30 minutes, Rivera said, before he drove Chloe and one of the girls to another house in Lawrence and the second girl to her home in Amesbury.
But Chloe and the girl who had gone to Lawrence came back later, Rivera told investigators, knocking on his door when the sun was up. He said they seemed drunk or high or both. In her interview with police, the girl said she and Chloe had been partying until 4 a.m. on Monday, May 20.
Both Rivera and the girl told investigators that Chloe spent Monday morning on Rivera’s couch, “snoring and breathing heavily,” the girl said. Rivera said he watched Chloe’s chest rise and fall, but it was apparent she was “having a hard time breathing.” He said he slapped her on the arm and on the cheek to initiate a response.
He said he left the girls around 11 a.m. to go to Burger King in Methuen. When he returned with three hamburgers and a milk shake, Rivera said, Chloe hadn’t gotten any better.
“I don’t want this girl to die here,” he recalled saying.
“She’s fine,” he claimed her friend replied.
But at some point, he said, he believed Chloe had stopped breathing; he didn’t see her chest rise and fall. Rivera told police he carried Chloe out of his apartment and laid her body in the back of his Honda Odyssey. Then he and the teenage girl drove Chloe to Lawrence General Hospital, about two miles from his apartment.
In the back of the minivan, Chloe was as “white as a piece of paper,” Rivera said.
According to investigators, Rivera pulled up to the hospital’s emergency department entrance around 4:30 p.m. He exited the vehicle and, investigators said, dumped two cut-up plastic straws, an orange cigarette filter, and a small bag with a white powdery substance into a nearby sewer. He got down on both knees to ensure the items went down the drain. Investigators believe the white powder was cocaine, fentanyl, or heroin, or a combination of the three, according to the affidavit.
By the time medics arrived to assist Chloe, she was “pulseless, cyanotic, and with fixed and dilated pupils,” the affidavit states. They attempted to revive her with Narcan, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, but it had no effect.
The 13-year-old was pronounced dead at 5:06 p.m.