- The first episode of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries chronicles the disappearance and death of Rey Rivera.
- Rivera’s death was initially reported as a suicide, but the ruling has been questioned by friends and family.
- Rivera left behind a cryptic note that the FBI ruled was not a suicide note.
Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries opens with the case of Rey Rivera, who disappeared from his residence on May 16, 2006 and was found dead eight days later at The Baltimore Belvedere Hotel; he had fallen from the hotel’s 16th floor. Though police admitted to suspicious circumstances at the time (including large horizontal gap between where Rivera exited the hotel and where he landed), detectives initially suspected the cause of death to be suicide.
Shortly after Rivera disappeared, family members found a note taped to Rivera’s home computer monitor. The note contained conspiracy and stream of conscious language referencing a “well-played game,” Hollywood, and Freemasonry. Rivera’s brother maintained the note to be a “red herring.” The FBI ruled that it was not a suicide note.
But while Rivera’s brother and others insisted that cause-of-death answers were to be found at the crime scene (the case was ruled “undetermined” as per the coroner’s assessment), others believe the note might be key to the investigation.
What does Rey Rivera’s note say?
A transcription of the photographed note, which appeared on Reddit, opens with a salutation to “brothers and sisters” and continues . . .
That was a well-played game. Congratulations to all who participated, I hope you enjoyed it. But, it was time to wake up. So, here I am.
I’d like to welcome those who accepted our invitations for membership during the game. We/I(?) couldn’t have done it without you.
I look on this endeavor to find the truth. But, for it’s own sake, in accepting this quest for the truth, I hoped to awake myself with the help of others, into a man ready and worthy to recieve it.
The note then seemingly switches speakers and goes on to mention several films and filmmakers.
What does Rivera’s note mean?
The exact meaning and context of the note is unclear. Rivera’s brother has said the note reads like a poem, and he reminded interviewers that his brother was a writer. “I found the note,” he said, “and it was just stream of consciousness, nothing more.”
Some police commentators at the time of the death speculated that the note might be a code, as it apparently uses some masonic phrases.
Internet investigators and fans of the Netflix series have wanted to make even more of the note.
Rivera’s references to the film The Game have inspired conspiratorial readings of the note. The film (directed by David Fincher) features a hotel suicide similar to Rivera’s. Throughout the film, the main character plays a game designed to make him believe he will lose everything. These internet readings suggest that somehow Rivera was involved in a similar experience. The implication is that he somehow lost control of reality.
Police at the time of the death, however, reported finding no history of mental illness.
So while the internet may read the note however it likes, the answers to the case were likely contained in the physical evidence at the scene of the crime. Some answers we may just never know.
Josh St. Clair
Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine.
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