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Police Question New Boyfriend in Murder of Disabled Harlem Woman

By Adam Nichols | November 27, 2010 10:13am | Updated on November 29, 2010 6:53am

By Della Hasselle and Olivia Scheck

DNAinfo Reporters/Producers

HARLEM — Police investigating the murder of a disabled Harlem woman have questioned several people, including a new boyfriend she had moved in with only a month before her death.

Nina Rivera, 29, was found naked and dumped under a pile of leaves in Marcus Garvey Park on Wednesday.

Police said the tiny woman — who friends said was 4 foot 10 and weighed just 75 pounds — had been strangled.

The woman, who was paralyzed on the right side of her body after suffering a series of strokes, had been living with her grandmother until recently, when she and her 6-year-old son moved in with a new boyfriend, family members said.

Several people at her wake Sunday said the couple had been fighting.

Nina Rivera, whose body was found under leaves in Marcus Garvey Park.
Nina Rivera, whose body was found under leaves in Marcus Garvey Park.
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Della Hasselle/DNAinfo

"He was like a body builder," Rivera's ex-boyfriend, Angel Rivera, 40, told DNAinfo. "She was afraid of him, I can tell you that."

He said he had gone to school with the new boyfriend.

The boyfriend was among people they'd spoken to, but no arrests had been made by Sunday, the Daily News reported.

Others at the wake remembered a determined woman who overcame her disabilities for the sake of her son.

"She was a strong person. She went through a lot of stuff," said her cousin, Tiffany Rivera, 22.

"She dedicated her life to making sure her son was raised right, that he would grow up to be somebody."

Rivera's body was discovered Wednesday at the base of a rocky hill near East 122nd Street and Madison Avenue.

Police are treating Nina Rivera's death as homicide.
Police are treating Nina Rivera's death as homicide.
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Della Hasselle/DNAInfo

The gruesome find was made by a Parks Department volunteer who saw a foot sticking out from the leaves.

The body showed no bruising or signs of assault, according to a police source.

Mourners gather outside a wake for Nina Rivera, who police say was murdered and dumped in Marcus Garvey Park.
Mourners gather outside a wake for Nina Rivera, who police say was murdered and dumped in Marcus Garvey Park.
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Olivia Scheck/DNAinfo