Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer Muzzles Suspect Police Seek Leads in Multiple Deaths

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer Muzzles Suspect Police Seek Leads in Multiple Deaths

Article excerpt

AUGUSTA -- The attorney for a man charged in the deaths of four women and suspected in others says his client won't talk to police about the myriad of unsolved cases in the various cities where his client has lived.

Police said earlier this week that interviews with Reinaldo J. Rivera, 37, of North Augusta, S.C., led to the discovery of the remains of two women he is now charged with killing.

"At this point, that is all he has to say," defense attorney Peter Johnson, of Augusta, said Tuesday.

Among the cases police want to discuss with Rivera are the disappearances of two South Carolina women -- one in 1992, when Rivera lived in Columbia, and one in 1999.

Paula Merchant, 25 of Forest Acres, has been missing since Jan. 3, 1999. Dail Dinwiddie, 23, of Columbia disappeared Sept. 24, 1992. Authorities say Rivera lived in the Columbia area from 1991 until 1993.

But other communities are hoping to speak to Rivera about unsolved crimes that may coincide with his residency.

Richmond County District Attorney Danny Craig has released a timeline describing Rivera's movements during the past three decades, The Augusta Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Born in Madrid, Spain, he moved with his family to Puerto Rico at the age of 7, Craig said. His father was a doctor.

At 19, Rivera joined the Navy and reported for basic training in Orlando. Later than year, he was sent to San Diego, Calif., then spent three years at sea.

From December 1986 to March 1991, Rivera worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, Craig said. For the next three years, he attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, earning a degree in office administration. While in Columbia, he married Tammy Lisa Bonnette on Valentine's Day 1993.

He would remain in the Navy, moving to Pensacola and Corpus Christi, Texas, before being discharged in September 1995. …

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