Los Angeles

Downey man suspected in serial killings of Tijuana sex workers to await extradition behind bars: judge

A federal judge has ordered the Los Angeles man accused of several femicides in Mexico to remain behind bars throughout his extradition process

 A Los Angeles County man who was arrested in connection with serial murders targeting strip-club workers in Mexico will remain behind bars throughout his extradition proceedings, a judge ruled Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Stevenson ordered Bryant Rivera jailed without bond while extradition proceedings take place in Los Angeles federal court. Rivera appeared in court, but said nothing, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Rivera, 30, of Downey, was arrested Thursday at the request of Mexico on a femicide charge, authorities said. Femicide has been used to describe the current spate of violence against women in Mexico.


In an emotional letter, Patrisia Rivera, sister of Byant, said that the crimes of which her younger brother is accused "do not resemble the character of the boy I grew up with." Rivera described her brother as a shy and reserved man, who was friendly and energetic at home.

He described her parents divorcing when they were teenagers and Bryant opting to stay with his father in Los Angeles because his mother was "moving to Nevada and didn't have a plan for her life." She added that they experienced many difficulties including her father's alcoholism which forced her to grow up very quickly to take care of her brother. "I know that we both needed our mother, but as long as we had each other, we would be okay," she said.

Patrisia Rivera said this forced them to be very close, so she says she feels she knows him very well. Their mother returned sometime later to live with them once again, who due to the diabetes she suffered needed them again.

Her father also suffers from diabetes and lost his sight forcing him to retire so now the couple depends on both, although Patrisia Rivera said in the letter to the court that especially from her brother Bryant since she was now dedicated to her own family.

Their mother is illiterate and his father is blind so she asked the court to allow him to stay at home with a monitor since he did not represent any imminent risk to the population according to Patrisia. In a document, J. Alejandro Barrientos, deputy federal public defender, petitions the government to grant Bryant Rivera conditional release because of the suffering his incarceration represents for the family that depends on him to work and provide.

In addition to citing his alleged character as a good son, Barrientos makes the argument that Bryant Rivera did not pose an imminent danger to society as the prosecution said, citing the time it took prosecutors to detain Rivera and the slowness with which Mexican authorities investigated the case.

"Even if the Court deems it dangerous, they should not detain Mr. Rivera. According to the U.S. government, the Mexican government has had reason to associate a U.S. citizen and California resident using the name "Bryant Rivera" with the death of the alleged victim since January 2022. However, a Mexican judge did not issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Rivera until November 2022... And despite the seriousness of the unproven accusations against him, US justice did not arrest Mr. Rivera until June 2023.

Following Judge Stevenson's refusal, Rivera remains in the Los Angeles County Jail accused of murdering at least one sex worker in Tijuana.

Mexico may add additional charges when prosecutors submit a formal request for extradition, according to a criminal complaint. Rivera allegedly beat and strangled Ángela Acosta Flores to death on Jan. 24, 2022, in a room at Hotel Cascadas, next to the Hong Kong Gentlemen's Club in Zona Norte, a red light district in Tijuana, the complaint says.

Late last year, Baja California Attorney General Iván Carpio Sánchez described the then-unidentified killer of Flores and at least two other Tijuana sex workers as displaying "violent and psychopathic behavior" comparable to serial murderer Ted Bundy.

Flores, 20, had been working as a stripper and occasional prostitute at the Hong Kong bar for about five months, her mother told investigators.

On the night of the murder, the victim texted her mother that she was going with a client to a room at the hotel for 30 minutes. Security cameras caught a man and Flores together before entering the room, according to the complaint.

When the mother began to worry, Flores' boyfriend went to the bar to look for her. He could not find her, but one of the workers said Flores had been with "a male client with a light brown complexion, an acne-scarred face," who stood about 5-foot-5 and had brown hair, according to the document.

The suspect was arrested Thursday morning at his parents' home in Downey, California. NBC 7's Mark Mullen has the details.

"The woman added that she knew the victim's client as `Bryant Rivera,' and that he was a `gringo,' the complaint states.

Flores' mother and boyfriend went to the hotel seeking information, and remained there until learning that a woman had been found dead in room 404, the complaint says.

A dancer at the bar told investigators that she had met with a man matching the suspect's name and description hours before the murder and went to a hotel room with him. She said that at about 10 p.m. that night, she saw the man she knew as Rivera leave the bar with Flores, according to the complaint.

Just after midnight on Jan. 25, 2022, Rivera returned to the United States on foot at the San Ysidro port of entry, the document states, citing border control records.

The complaint and provisional arrest warrant for Rivera was placed under seal on June 29 by a federal judge in downtown Los Angeles due to the possibility that the suspect "is likely to flee if he learns of the existence of a warrant for his arrest," prosecutors wrote. It was unsealed after Rivera's arrest one week later.

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