Funeral services began for a 6-year-old boy who was stabbed to death last weekend. Osvaldo “Popeye” Rivera, 31, is accused of slashing the boy’s throat as well as his 12-year-old sister last Sunday morning at their home on the 900 block of Ware Street in Camden.
Police say Rivera was sexually assaulting the girl when the little boy tried to defend her. That’s when Rivera allegedly slashed the children’s throats, killing the boy and injuring the girl. At the time of the attack, the children were being taken care of by their 14-year-old sister because their father lives out of town and their mother was in the hospital recovering from surgery.
After the attack, police say the girl ran from her home, went to a neighbor for help and identified her attacker as “Poppy.” She was then taken to Cooper Hospital where she underwent surgery and is expected to survive. The hospital has not yet revealed the girl’s current condition. Two other children in the home at the time of the attack were not harmed.
Several interviews led investigators to Rivera who police say lived in the area and went by the nickname “Popeye.” Rivera was known to spend nights at an apartment on the 3200 block of River Road and police found him there about 4 p.m. Sunday hiding between a mattress and a bedroom wall, according to Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk.
Police also found blood-stained sneakers that matched bloody footprints in the home on Ware Street. Faulk filed charges against Rivera around 2 a.m. Monday morning. Investigators claim Rivera admitted to smoking “Wet,” a combination of marijuana and PCP, just before committing the brutal attack. Police are testing batches of the drug for possible contamination following the attack as well as another recent incident in Camden in which a mother decapitated her son and then killed herself. Police say preliminary tests reveal the woman also had “Wet” in her system when she committed the murder-suicide.
The boy’s funeral began at 9:30 a.m. at Saint Cecilia Church on 4824 Camden Avenue in Pennsauken, New Jersey.