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    City police investigate death as suspicious

    By DEBORAH O'NEIL

    © St. Petersburg Times, published November 15, 2000


    LARGO -- Police were investigating what they called the suspicious death of a 38-year-old man Tuesday.

    Edwin Rivera was found dead in his home at 1562 Belleair Road about 11 a.m. by his sister, said Largo police spokeswoman Lt. Carla Boudrot. He was alone when he was found in the house, she said.

    "We don't know if it's suicide or homicide," Boudrot said. "In this case it's suspicious, and I can't tell you one way or another."

    Authorities would not divulge details about how he died but said a criminal investigation was under way. Thursday night, the front yard of the green-trimmed home was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, and a forensics team from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office was on the site.

    Rivera's 22-year-old daughter, Denise Rivera, stood outside, her makeup smudged from tears. She spoke briefly to a reporter and said that her father had killed himself.

    "It's not a suspicious death," she said. "He was just a man who didn't know how to handle stress and pain. . . .. Nobody knows what he was going through."

    But Boudrot said the Largo police were investigating because, "We need to be 100 percent sure. If we have anything that leads us believe maybe it is or isn't, we need to investigate completely."

    Neighbors said they did not hear or see anything suspicious Tuesday morning. Donna Hedman said Rivera was married with several children and worked in sales. Clarence Reinker said the family recently returned from vacation and he had often see the Rivera children playing outside.

    "He's a very nice guy," Hedman said. "He was very helpful. All the neighbors liked him."

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