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Crime News Murders

California Man, Described as Potential "Serial Killer," Arrested in Connection with String of Mexican Sex Worker Slayings

Bryant Rivera remains behind bars while awaiting extradition proceedings for allegedly killing Ángela Carolina Acosta Flores, a Tijuana sex worker last seen on security video entering Rivera's hotel room.

By Elisabeth Ford
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A California man has been arrested in connection to serial murders targeting sex workers in Mexico.

Federal authorities detained Bryant Rivera, 30, in Downey, Los Angeles County on June 6, after a request from Mexican authorities, according to court documents and U.S. officials cited by NBC News. He was arrested on charges of femicide — the murder of a woman or girl, based on their gender — for the 2022 death of a Tijuana sex worker.

A U.S. attorney's complaint, cited by NBC News, detailed the Jan. 24, 2022 killing of Ángela Carolina Acosta Flores, a Tijuana club dancer and sex worker who was last seen on security video entering a hotel room that prosecutors say was rented by Rivera.

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Her body was found in a bathroom the next day, and an autopsy report determined she had died from asphyxiation, according to the federal complaint.

Prosecutors in the Mexican state of Baja California allege in the filing that Rivera was seen that night leaving the room before midnight and that he never returned. Thirteen minutes after leaving the hotel room, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on foot.

A mugshot of Bryant Rivera

A witness, whose name was not disclosed, said Rivera regularly spent time at the club — which is adjacent to the hotel — and that she saw him with Flores there, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors said another witness, while relaying his appearance, described Rivera as having “an acne scarred face,” which was visible due to his ill-fitting surgical mask.

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Last year, Baja California Attorney General Iván Carpio Sánchez described the then-unidentified alleged killer of Flores, and at least two other Tijuana sex workers, as having "violent and psychopathic behavior" comparable to serial murderer Ted Bundy, Fox 11 reported.

The attorney general’s office also said last year that the suspect, a frequenter of Tijuana's red-light district known as Zona Norte, had sex with all three of the victims before he allegedly killed them, according to NBC News.

Security camera image of Bryant Rivera and a woman

The deaths of the other two victims were not detailed in the federal complaint but were said to have spanned September 2021 to February 2022.

All three bodies were found in hotel rooms, NBC News reported, citing the attorney general's office.

Rivera "is considered a serial killer" and "will now face justice in Baja California," Carpio said on Facebook Friday, according to an NBC News translation.

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Rivera now remains jailed without bond pending his extradition proceedings.

The judge’s decision came after Rivera’s sister said in an emotional letter that was obtained by NBC 7 San Diego that the crimes in which her brother is accused of "do not resemble the character of the boy I grew up with."

Security camera image of Bryant Rivera

"I cannot express how much the accusations against my brother have affected our family,” she began the letter, before going on to describe how their family relies on him, as her parents struggle with diabetes.

Deputy federal public defender J. Alejandro Barrientos filed a request that the government grant Rivera conditional release because of his family’s dependence on his work and care.

But a judge ruled that Rivera must remain in Los Angeles County Jail.

The complaint and provisional arrest warrant for Rivera was put under seal 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," NBC 7 reported, citing prosecutors. It was unsealed following Rivera's arrest one week later.

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