Wilmington man charged with murdering his mom

Harbor House flames
Fire sweeps through Harbor House apartment building in Claymont. (Photo: Delaware Free News)
Michael Rivera (Photo: Delaware Free News)
Michael Rivera (Photo: Delaware Free News)

CLAYMONT, DELAWARE (8/11/2015) A 33-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Juanita Lara, whose body was found after fire swept through a building at the Harbor House apartment complex in Claymont last December, New Castle County police said today.

Michael Rivera, of the 1100 block of Clifford Brown Walk in Wilmington, also was charged with possession of a weapon during commission of a felony, police said.

The fire Dec. 21 routed 38 residents and caused $1 million damage.

Investigators had labeled the fire “suspicious” when they identified Lara, 57, a Harbor House resident, as the victim in December.

Rivera is being held in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where he fled Dec. 22, on unrelated charges, police said.

After his car was found and he was taken into custody in Pennsylvania, evidence was found linking Rivera to the murder, said Officer First Class Tracey Duffy, spokeswoman for New Castle County police.

Duffy did not release the cause of death.

She said Rivera will be extradited to Delaware after his trial in Pennsylvania.

Duffy said the arrest came after a joint investigation by police and the Delaware state Fire Marshal’s Office.

Police ID victim of Harbor House fire, call death ‘suspicious’

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