Even before Rey Rivera's case aired on Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries revival, the baffling story caught the attention of true crime fans, web sleuths, and professional detectives alike. The confounding pieces of evidence and bizarre leads that emerged from the investigation have made this unresolved case one of the most baffling in recent history.
While the Unsolved Mysteries episode introduced Rey's story to a much larger audience, it left out some important details that add even more complexity to the case's standard narrative. To this day, new testimony and clues continue to come forth, leaving Rey's loved ones hopeful for an update, and that the truth will eventually be exposed.
Allison Jones Rivera Reported Her Husband Rey Missing On May 17, 2006Photo: Unsolved Mysteries / Netflix
Thirty-two-year-old Rey Rivera and his new wife, Allison, had only been in Baltimore a few years when Rivera went missing on May 16, 2006. Allison, who was in Virginia for work, couldn't reach Rey by phone that evening; she assumed he was out drinking. On the morning of May 17, Allison expected to hear from her husband, but her phone never rang. By that afternoon, Allison knew something was wrong. She filed a missing person report at 3 pm.
In her 2018 book An Unexplained Death, Mikita Brottman includes the details of the 'Missing Person' poster plastered all over Baltimore in the wake of Rey's disappearance:
Last Seen: Tuesday, May 16, six p.m. Leaving home (Northwood neighborhood) to run errands in his wife’s car. Wearing pullover jacket, shorts, and flip-flops. Carrying $20 in cash, no bank cards.
Rey's family, friends, and wife spent the next several days scouring the city for any trace of their loved one. Their first big clue wouldn't come until May 23.
On May 23, Rivera’s Family Found Allison's Car In A Downtown Baltimore Parking Lot
By May 23, Rivera's family and friends had searched Baltimore extensively, but to no avail. Allison's parents decided to retrace some of their steps on May 23 and inspected parking lots close to Rivera's place of work in the Mount Vernon neighborhood. Their persistence paid off, and they found Allison's black Mitsubishi Montero SUV undamaged in a lot on St. Paul Street.
Police impounded the vehicle and entered it as evidence, but the Montero contained no clues about Rivera's whereabouts. The lot attendant who worked the day of May 16 couldn't remember seeing the Montero drive into the lot; however, he did remember seeing the car on the morning of May 17, when he ticketed it for remaining overnight.
The Investigation Had No Leads Until A Suspicious Hole Was Spotted In The Belvedere Hotel's Roof
The day after Allison's car was found, three of Rivera's friends were searching for leads in a parking lot next to the Belvedere Hotel when they spotted something unusual: A chair hanging off the edge of the hotel's roof. They decided to get a closer look.
From the top of the Belvedere, Rivera's friends looked down upon the roof of a two-story annex that was part of the hotel. This is when they noticed a hole in the annex's roof, described by Mikita Brottman as "bigger than a Frisbee, but smaller than a hula hoop."
Rivera's Body Was Found In A Locked, Empty Room In The Second-Story Annex Of The Belvedere
Rivera's friends knew they needed to get inside the annex at the Belvedere, and they were very concerned about what they would find inside. The annex used to house the hotel's indoor swimming pool, but it had been converted into office spaces in the 1990s. The particular room that corresponded with the strange hole was unoccupied at the time.
The three men entered the meeting room, empty except for one shocking discovery: Rivera's body. By that time, he had been missing for over a week.