The estranged boyfriend of the woman who was found dead with her son underneath a burning mattress over the weekend is now in custody, according to police.
Carlos Rivera was found at a home on Russell Street Monday night and taken into custody for questioning.
Rivera's girlfriend, 35-year-old Atlanta Deveny, and her 12-year-old son Elijah Rosado were found dead by firefighters after they put out a house fire in the city’s Wissinoming neighborhood.
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As they searched the first floor apartment in the 4600 block of Howell Street shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, they found the bodies of Deveny and Rosado beneath a burning mattress in a living room closet.
Homicide detectives suspect Deveny was beaten and choked to death and that her son was stabbed in the throat and chest as he tried to help. Both of their bodies were then burned.
Family and friends say Deveny and her son moved to the apartment last week in order to get away from Rivera, who allegedly abused her. They say Deveny was too afraid to get a protective order against him.
Police say Rivera is a “person of interest” in the deaths of Deveny and her son. Mary Pommer, a neighbor of the two victims, tells NBC10 Rivera came over to her apartment when the fire first broke out.
(Pictured on right: Carlos Rivera)
"He said he'd handle it and it was under control," Pommer said. "We told him he needed an extinguisher. He told us not to call the cops."
Rivera was wanted for robbery earlier this year and has a lengthy criminal history, according to investigators. He is currently in custody though he has not yet been officially charged.
Leaders with Women Against Abuse say many victims of domestic abuse are afraid to get a protective order.
“We have the most domestic violence cases in the state,” said Molly Callahan, a member of the organization.
While 140,000 people in Philadelphia call police for domestic related issues, only about 11,000 eventually go through with the protective order. Advocates encourage victims to use it as a tool even if they don’t believe it will help.