Unsolved Mysteries watcher finds clue in Rey Rivera’s last note

Unsolved Mysteries
Mild spoilers for Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix
I don’t know if I was a criminal or a detective in a past life, but I absolutely love crime and mysteries series. Any time I find a new program that requires superior analytical thinking, I am all in. Let’s just say my alter ego is a female Sherlock Holmes. I was scouring Netflix last night and found the new season of Unsolved Mysteries. It was already 10:00 p.m. but I was excited to watch at least one episode before falling asleep. Let’s just say I stayed up until almost 1:00 a.m. watching damn near three episodes.

Episode one, Mystery on the Rooftop, presents some of the most mysterious series of circumstances surrounding the death of Rey Rivera, a married man of six months and frustrated screenwriter who moved to Baltimore to work for a school friend, Frank Porter Stansberry, at his firm, Stanberry and Associates.  Rey went missing while his wife was out of town on business. The only things that are certain about his death are that he left his home in a rush late in the evening on May 16, 2006, wearing flip flops and driving his wife’s car after receiving a call from someone at the firm.

A week later, his body was found in a meeting room in the Belvedere Hotel. But here’s where it gets strange. There was a hole in the roof above where his body lay and the only ledge where someone could seemingly jump from was 14 stories above. Neither his phone nor his glasses were cracked in the fall. The medical examiner stated that the injuries to his body were consistent with a fall but he had fractures to his legs which weren’t, therefore she ruled it unexplained. With this information, the police department rushed to label Rey’s death a suicide. His wife said that Rey was afraid of heights and the hotel’s roof was off-limits to the public. One would have to know where they were going to access it.

Suspiciously, as the investigation heated up, Rey’s friend and boss Frank put a gag order on his employees to keep them from speaking to the investigators about the company! Stranger still, Rey’s brother found a very cryptic note taped to the back of his computer listing names of friends and movies that inspired him. It wasn’t seemingly a suicide note. No one knew what the disjointed information in the note meant until possibly now:

One user on the subreddit Unresolved Mysteries disputes the suicide theory, though, and offers a new take on what really happened, Newsweek reports. While Rivera listed multiple creative works that inspired him, one on the list stood out to the Reddit detective: The Game.

“I am watching the Rey Rivera episode on Netflix and what really caught my eye was the note Rey wrote on the day he died and he hid the note behind the computer,” they wrote. “It had all these names of actors, his friends and family, quotes from free masons and a list of movies. One of these movies was The Game.

“Immediately, I thought: OF COURSE! There is one big scene at the end of the movie where the main character jumped off the roof (!) of a fancy hotel and goes through the (glass) roof. The similarities to Rey are truly astonishing.”

The Game, which was released in 1997, stars Michael Douglas as an unhappy, wealthy executive whose life is turned around by an extraordinary birthday gift from his brother, played by Sean Penn.

“The whole movie is about this crazy game that a company arranges that makes you think you lose everything in order to let you appreciate life again,” the Reddit user explained. “Rey was an unsuccessful movie script writer and maybe he got involved in [something] that tried to imitate The Game in some way.”

“In the episode you can see two see-through roof windows next to the hole caused by Rey,” they added. “Did he try to go through one of the windows like in The Game?”

While Rivera’s death is considered a suicide by investigators, his family is doubtful. Some inconsistencies, like Rivera’s un-shattered cell phone and flip flops on the roof of the hotel, made them question how he could have jumped, and some of his injuries are also inconsistent with the fall.

[From Decider]

Perhaps it was a suicide, or perhaps it was an accident. Better still, the mystery suggests that murder can’t be ruled out either. Hopefully, more amateur sleuths will come forward which will prompt investigators to reopen the case.  I believe the initial investigation failed Rey’s family, but hopefully, new information will be presented and they can finally get a definitive answer to what actually happened to Rey that night 14 years ago when he fell to his death.

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Photos credit: Netflix
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64 Responses to “Unsolved Mysteries watcher finds clue in Rey Rivera’s last note”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I didn’t know unsolved mysteries thank you!
    I will watch literally everything that has a dead somewhere.

  2. Becks1 says:

    We just watched this last night – not knowing it was about Baltimore. I’m from Baltimore and my husband and I actually got married at the Belvedere, so the episode was crazy for us to watch.

    The Game theory is interesting but it still doesn’t solve the problem of his injuries not being fully consistent with a fall, and how he got to the roof in the first place to jump. OR why he just ran out of the house so suddenly with his flip flops. Also, I just don’t see a reasonable person thinking, let me jump 14 stories to test out a theory for my script!

    • Seraphina says:

      I just watched this episode last night. And I agree that the theories do not jive with the evidence the police found. The phone and glasses had not a scratch on them. The friend that brought them to Baltimore is involved somehow. Rey’s brother said that maybe someone was upset with Rey about losing money on stock tips. I don’t think so. I think Rey stumbles upon something pretty big accidentally and that is what lead to his death. That note is in code and hopefully someone can break it.
      What’s also super odd is that he had a guest in the house, right next door, and he didn’t say to her: hey I need to run out I’ll be right back. If one has a friend or coworker in the house, one doesn’t just run out the door at night and not say anything especially when it’s your house. I don’t know, but that part of the story is very strange.

      • Granger says:

        It’s the fact that he ran from the house, in flip flops, without a word to the house guest, that confuses me too. I don’t remember the details entirely, though–was it late, and was she in her room with the door closed, so maybe he thought she was asleep?

      • Seraphina says:

        @Granger, I didn’t take into account he may have thought she was sleeping. It’s just a shady aspect to the story. The house guest and how it all went down. Three important factors which should be closer looked at: the house guest, the friend who brought them to Baltimore and the message on the computer.
        This was not a suicide.

      • Sorella says:

        Yeah the houseguest part was like ? They didn’t mention if they really questioned this person, were they ever under suspicion as the last person to see him? Why was this person not interviewed for the show and if they didn’t want to be, I wonder why didn’t they say that. Strange.

      • Becks1 says:

        My guess is the houseguest was afraid of being targeted and harassed.

        his exiting the house in such a hurry was directly linked to that phone call.

    • ME says:

      Hello fellow Baltimorean! My parents were married there in the early 80s! I told my mother all excited about this story (she still lives in Bmore) and she was much less excited about this than I was. She also had no idea about this case! It seemed to go under the radar pretty quickly.

      • Becks1 says:

        I got married in 2007 and I said to my husband last night if I had known about this I might have gone for the Tremont instead LOL! It definitely disappeared pretty quick, in a way that seems sort of sketchy now looking back. Jayne Miller definitely gave the impression that she does not think it was a suicide.

      • H says:

        When I saw Jayne Miller in the episode, I was like: “yeah, Jayne is on the case!” (Another Bmore girl here.) But him running out of the house in the flip-flops made no sense. And the angle from the roof, if he did jump, makes no sense as he would have hit things on the way down to making the hole.

    • Yup, Me says:

      He was from California (Los Angeles to be specific). Flip flops as outside shoes is a thing. That doesn’t seem all that strange to me (as a Californian).

      All of that other stuff is very very strange, though.

      • Becks1 says:

        ?? I don’t think its strange that he’s wearing flip flops in general. We wear flip flops here in Maryland too, lol. But the way the houseguest described it, it seemed like he was wearing them because he was in such a hurry .

  3. STRIPE says:

    It was “suicide.” I put that in quotes because I believe he was having a psychotic break so he may not have meant to kill himself.

    The note is what sealed it for me, and the interest in the Masons. If you have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or have a family member who does, this is textbook.

    How’d he get on the roof? Who knows. But he jumped off the ledge somehow, the police admitted then trajectory from there made sense. My family member drove a 1970s Ford truck through the rocky desert so far that the police had no clue how she possibly did it given the truck and terrain. She left the car and somehow made it back to town. With her twin children in tow. Nobody has any clue how. She was trying to get to the mountains because she thought there was an antenna there that her mother in law was using to read her mind.

    BTW, She was still maintaining her job at the time. A psychotic break doesn’t always mean you are immediately unrecognizable. I’m sorry for his family, but it’s pretty clear to me.

    • superbass says:

      It’s not consistent with bipolar disorder, please don’t spread misinformation about a largely misunderstood mood disorder please. This exactly the kind of stuff we talk about in my group therapy.

      • wendywoo says:

        @Superbass, I’m Bipolar too and, sadly, I think Stripe is right. When we’re well and medicated, 99.9% of the time these symptoms don’t show up but the throes of a Type 1 mania- especially after days or weeks of little to no sleep- can indeed present like a schizophrenic psychotic break. I’m sorry for any struggles you’re having with BP (god bless mood stabilisers) and I wish you all the best with your therapy.

      • STRIPE says:

        The person I was describing is BP1. So it is consistent. She has these breaks when she stops her meds.

      • Mac says:

        Listen to the Crime Junkie episode about Rey. He was trying to join the masons because he thought it would help him make connections in Hollywood.

      • STRIPE says:

        @mac I did listen to it. That reasoning does not mean he wasn’t having a manic episode. In fact, it could completely map on a manic episode.

        The Masons are a secretive religious organization which makes it ripe for inclusion in manic episodes. I would also wonder why, if he were totally sane, he would choose the Masons (in Baltimore) instead of a industry specific group? To me, it only further proves the manic angle, but at bare minimum it doesn’t disprove it by any means.

        I love Crime Junky but found they glossed over the mental illness possibility in a way that was really puzzling in this case.

      • H says:

        @STRIPE, I’m from Baltimore and the Masons are BIG there. My grandfather was one, as was my father. My grandmother was the female version, whose name I can’t recall now. However, besides playing poker, smoking cigars in a church basement as my grandfather’s group did, I’ve never heard of the Masons being like a crazy cult. But, how being a Mason would help Rey in Hollywood? That makes no sense.

      • Becks1 says:

        The masons are big here but not in a creepy way. Like I don’t know anyone who would join the masons here to get a better job or anything. Your high school matters more than being a mason, ha.

        It might have helped establish connections in Hollywood, maybe?

    • Becks1 says:

      A psychotic break like you described could be plausible, but it doesn’t explain the inconsistent injuries and the unbroken glasses and phone. If it weren’t for those aspects, I would believe it was suicide – even without any psychological issues, the suicide of a loved one can often be a surprise for the family and doesn’t always have clear warning signs, so just because his wife didn’t think it was suicide doesn’t sway me, you know?

      • STRIPE says:

        I’m with you. It always bothers me when people say “they wouldn’t commit suicide!” Well how do you know? People commit suicide after making plans for the future all the time. The act of suicide can be so irrational and the decision can be made suddenly in a acute moment of pain that trying to apply calm, healthy minded logic to it is a fools errand. Add a manic episode? Forget about it.

        I didn’t hear any injuries that were inconsistent (my understanding is that inconsistent doesn’t mean absolutely impossible, it means not generally seen)The cop said he “torpedoed” through the roof feet first, so that would explain shin injuries. Which are you referring to?

        As for the phone and glasses, I’ve heard of people being hit by cars and things like glasses/phones being just fine. Sometimes things just happen that way.

      • bluemoonhorse says:

        Many suicides do not leave a note and family had no clue. According to NCBI only 3-42% leave a note. Japanese 15-30% leave a note. So yeah not leaving a note is not the end all definition of not-a-suicide.

    • Granger says:

      I think this is the most plausible theory. He wanted to be a Hollywood screenwriter, but was obviously struggling to work/catch a break; so his friend who runs this successful real estate company offers him a job writing his monthly newsletter about financing (I think? something like that). Rey takes the job because he feels he doesn’t have any other choice, but imagine how demoralizing that might have been for a creative person–to find yourself writing what was probably (let’s face it) pretty dry, uninteresting content. I think he suffered a breakdown of some kind, didn’t see any way out of the life he and his wife had chosen, and decided to end it.

      I admit that I’m surprised, if that’s the case, that his wife/family didn’t see any signs. But I believe you, @STRIPE, that this isn’t impossible.

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      That’s an interesting take.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      He was sitting in his house having a snack and a soda when his phone rang. Guest heard him answer and exclaim something like “OH,” and left the house without stopping for anything. This suggests his house exit was prompted by the phone call. That phone call was traced to the switchboard at Stansbury. He had no history of mental illness, and his life was stable.

      My thoughts are that the friend in the financial industry who courted Ray to join him and subsequently clammed up (in fact gagging all employees from speaking) is at the center of the murder and made Ray his patsy for some shady dealings.

      The phone and glasses found near him were unmarred. A flip flop had a drag mark. He was duped by a phone call to go to the Belvedere, where he was incapacitated (maybe he was kneecapped-drag marks), and thrown from the roof.

      For all of that to play out, not having access to the roof, being afraid of heights, took goons who took orders from high places with money.

      I wonder if Stansbury called Ray and said he was on the roof contemplating jumping to get Ray there, then had a couple guys do his dirty work, taking the fall ( sorry, pun not intended) for some financial losses.

      Terrible.

    • Kayla says:

      I agree with you 100%. I think everyone who believes this is some type of major cover up have most likely never seen an episode like this and want to believe something more is at play. The company gag order was most likely a way to prevent police from coming in and perchance uncovering more financial impropriety by the company.

  4. Zen says:

    Was he diagnosed as having bipolar?

  5. Mitanh says:

    The note to me reads like a writing prompt. I know a lot of people who put those kind of notes up when they’re blocked.

    I don’t find the phone and glasses that odd. I used to work at a rooftop bar, and people were always dropping phones and sunglasses over the edge. Sometimes things didn’t have a scratch, other times they broke into a dozen pieces.

    The fractures are odd. My first thought is he got them on the first impact as he went through the building, and that’s why they don’t match up with the injuries from the final impact, but then I assume that would have been the medical examiners first thought too.

    • OpCit says:

      I’ve read something to the effect that the note is a “tone” treatment for a screenplay, where a screenwriter lists names of movies, actors, and quotes that help them get a feel for what they want their screenplay to be like–which would explain their list. Now I read this on Reddit, but at least two people said that they did something similar when they wrote. And one said that they would often hide their notes, too, they way Rey did.

      Also, Baltimorean here, too. I actually live two blocks from the Belvedere. My partner and I think Rey parked in the St. Paul Street lot that abuts the parking garage and that perhaps he went straight to the roof instead of into the hotel. My partner suspects that maybe a car drove into him, which may explain the drag marks on the flip flops and how his body was able to fall through the roof of the conference room.

      Also, Stansbury and its parent company have also struck me as super sketchy as a company. I’ve never gotten a good vibe from them.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think it makes more sense that he came from the parking garage than the Belvedere, but the trajectory didn’t seem to make sense for that. But maybe if he was hit hard enough with a car and sent over the edge? IDK, I’m not a physics expert.

  6. Sasha says:

    Ok so I saw the skylights in the show and thought the same thing about the micheal Douglas movie! Crazy!
    But what I can say is that a fall from that height will break ALOT of bones, and that them saying a fibula/tibia fracture isn’t consistent doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

  7. Darby says:

    I think he was dropped from a helicopter and the glasses and phone were added after… either when someone went to check on his body or staged by the cops.

    • H says:

      GMTA! I thought of the helicopter option too. But when I heard his car was found on St. Paul’s Street garage, which if you’re not from Baltimore, is like around the corner from the hotel; I changed my mind. Not many helicopter sites in Bmore except Essex and another one downtown.

  8. smee says:

    Interesting link…that note is bonkers…

    I can’t help wonder if he met someone at/near the hotel, it was a set-up, his shins got broken and then two men threw him off – would that be enough velocity to pile-drive his head thru the roof….? He did receive a call from work right before he left his house. The coroner told his wife his shins would not have gotten broken like they were in a fall/jump…..

    Also, I found it odd that his best friend/boss wanted to hire someone with no financial experience to write an investment newsletter….

    • loba says:

      I feel like the murder mystery angle is gauche and demeaning. I think he had a break. I also think this of Eliza Lam and her death (died in hotel water tank in LA). It’s kind of gross to suspect foul play and make it into a whodunnit. I’ve had psychotic breaks. I can tell you that there’s no reason or ration behind the things I did during them. I’ve also known people who have done incredible unbelievable things when they’ve had a break or an episode. We need to normalize mental health and taking care instead of getting imaginative and creative and therefore adding to the stigma/denial of serious mental issues that I promise you everyday otherwise functional completely lovable multifaceted pleasant people face.

  9. Redditfanatic says:

    Ok, I’m very active on the UM subreddit and there are lots of theories about Rey’s case. There is one about how the FBI believed Rey was suffering from a delusional disorder. I tend to believe this theory. I’ve put the link below. Also, if you’re interested, there’s an UM Google docs drive with everything from the show. That will keep you awake for days, like it did me! :)
    https://www.reddit.com/r/UnsolvedMysteries/comments/hmg3sm/the_fbi_believed_rey_was_suffering_from_a/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

  10. Sean says:

    I think Rey learned something about the company Stansberry didn’t want getting out. Why else would they put a gag-order on their employees? Very suspicious. Also, it was said that in order to access the ledge Rey would have had to jump from, he’d have to enter privately owned condominiums. Who owned those condos? Also, the detective who was investigating the case was moved to a different department without any warning. Very fishy.

    Someone on Reddit suggested mafia involvement. It was said that Rey published a newsletter for the company that had bad stock tips. Is it possible someone lost a lot of money and wanted revenge or something was on the cusp of being exposed?

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      That the *only* detective who disbelieved suicide was pulled from case without warning tells me that city gov’t & big money involved.

  11. Feedmechips says:

    I know someone who works for that company. The powers that be sent out an email to everyone denying that there was a gag order right after the episode was released.

  12. Liz version 700 says:

    I love these investigation shoes. I spend a lot of time watching Discovery ID. I didn’t know they were bringing “Unsolved Mysteries” Back! That is so cool!

  13. Nancypants says:

    I had to work last night but have the new Unsolved ready to go today!
    Also going to watch the new ep of the Betty Broderick story.

    I don’t really believe we have previous lives but maybe.
    I think we are influenced at an early age by movies, t.v., books, and so on.
    I had every copy of the Nancy Drew series. My cousins and I devoured my uncle’s piles of True Detective magazines which, in hindsight, we shouldn’t have been allowed to see.
    For a very long time, I wanted to be a lawyer like Perry Mason who also had a detective working for him. No, I’m not that old. They were reruns.
    I tried the Agatha Christie stories but couldn’t get into them.

    I worked for awhile for a private detective. Long story, long ago but it’s not as cool as t.v. makes it out to be.

    We can all be armchair sleuths and lawyers if we want to be. :)

  14. chick says:

    I was curious why there wasn’t blood, some hair, any dna taken from the hole, or any analysis at all as to whether he came in contact with the roof before he hit the floor. There’s no way his friend and company wouldn’t want to assist with WHO the hell called him and said what, no way it was just a flipflopped man running at top speed for a matrix leap to his death

  15. Stacy Dresden says:

    I agree with the bipolar psychotic episode theory. Very sad.

    • Betsy says:

      It seems totally possible, but I don’t think so. How is he not on any of the cameras? Where did he jump from? If he jumped from the roof, how did he get up there? How did his phone and glasses end up near him but unscratched? (I can’t remember if they were on the roof or next to him). That part of it doesn’t add up.

  16. Girl with the Soup Tattoo says:

    This was a very sad, bizarre episode but the episode I wish was getting more attention was I think the last one where the daughter went missing and the mother (and her husband) were found guilty of an exs murder in civil court and she STILL got to take the missing daughter’s son. I feel like this one should, in theory, have a happy ending with criminal charges against the mother and the little boy going to a family member that will truly love him. So heartbreaking.

    • H says:

      That episode bothered me so much. The mother killed her daughter and she is found libel in civil court of ex-husband’s death and she gets to keep the kid? Child should be no where near her.

  17. Savannah says:

    I also love this show and watched the episode. What I found most strange about the suicide theory is that not one witness saw him jump from the roof?!? In a hotel that big, there would have been at least a few witnesses. I also felt like the family was hiding something, trying to make Rivera sound squeaky clean when he was perhaps involved in some nefarious activities. Something didn’t add up, not to mention the weird house guest “business associate”?!

  18. Amelie says:

    I’ve watched the first 4 episodes and Rey’s death is so bizarre. No one at the hotel saw him that night, there’s no way he could have made it onto the roof of the hotel OR the ledge, unless he somehow broke into a private condo/office. I can believe maybe he was lured into one of those private condos somehow and then pushed. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me. The preppy friend is definitely involved and I saw on Twitter the company Twitter is blocking people that are sending them mean messages.

    So far though the most disturbing episode for me is the third one, the one about Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, the French aristocrat who murdered his entire family (4 kids, wife, 2 dogs). He somehow managed to shoot all if them, wrap them up in garbage bags/sheets, buried them under the terrass in a space where it would not have been easy to dig, and left NO forensic evidence in the house??! No blood, no fingerprints, nothing? And eluded French authorities and is still at large.

    The episode didn’t cover it but in 2015 a French journalist received a photo of Xavier’s two sons and on the back a note purportedly from Xavier “I am still alive, today until this hour” and signed with his name. There’s also all sorts of info online about crazy Catholic cults. Also Xavier’s family is deeply in denial that he’s not a murderer, that he actually went undercover for the DEA in the US (remember that rambling letter!?), and that the bodies found in the backyard were not the family and a police cover up. I found the blog run by Xavier’s deluded sister with all these long, nonsensical posts about how her brother is innocent (it’s all in French btw).

    Just a really haunting and disturbing case.

    • Suz says:

      I just watched that episode tonight. My question is, if he had no money left, how did he start a new life in another country? They think he escaped to Latin America?

    • Becks1 says:

      We just watched that episode last night and it was really disturbing. Like you said, how was there NO forensic evidence? A silencer wouldn’t stop the blood. And what was the motive? A psychotic break like mentioned above but for the count? And like @Suz says, if he has no money how did he escape to another country and start a new life? Presumably I guess he would be working?

  19. Lizzie says:

    Thank you all. When I finish How To Get Away With Murder this will be my next show on Netflix.

  20. Call_me_al says:

    Hi Oya; welcome to celebitchy! Thanks for covering this, I love true crime!

  21. Sorella says:

    Oh I could NOT stop thinking about this episode, such a lovely guy from a loving family and wife, so sad.

    I do think there there is a link to his friend/boss too – how can his childhood BFF not be more helpful and want answers for his lifelong friend’s death – and the gag order just seems strange, like what are you hiding?!! How can he not be DEMANDING answers, so strange!

    I LOVE these shows – but I forgot that there is no “solved” at the end of these. And I forgot how they STRESS me out lol. Funny back in the day when the original Unsolved Mysteries aired that didn’t bother me as much. But in the internet age ARGGG drives me crazy, I want answers NOW and go down the hole looking for them (but that is likely what they want haha).

    • Suz says:

      It’s because we no longer have Robert Stack and his wonderful voice hosting the show. He would throw out some theories to think about at the end of each segment. That’s what’s missing.

  22. Hildog says:

    I question how the wife got ahold of the phone, flip flops and glasses. If unsolved, that stuff would remain in evidence. Why would the cops give those clues to the family? What if there are new revelations and they need that evidence fresh?

    • Becks1 says:

      I thought (I would have to rewatch) but I thought the police ended up declaring it a suicide. I don’t think its considered an open case by the Baltimore PD anymore.

  23. Ashley says:

    The Game is one of my favorite movies. Actually I think any Michael Douglas movie from the 80-90’s is, they make up a lot of what I watched as a kid. I haven’t seen Unsolved mYsteries, that show used to be so good when I was a kid and the murder of the women on the side of the road that may have been picked up by a trucker and killed, still haunts me. Thank god for cell phones. I will definitely add this to my queue. But I will miss that old hosts voice. I still get chills thinking about how freaked out those stories used to make me. It’s funny because I loved horror movies as a kid but play me any real stories and I got scared to death. Human beings are so much scarier than we can ever make up

  24. Keira Lee says:

    That’s not much of a revelation IMHO. The note had so many references and names, that you can’t possibly single out one movie plot.
    However, it’d be great if they release the note in its entirety (minus the names probably) and try the Internet’s hive mind on it. Who knows, can’t hurt.