BREAKING — Kearny man, 42, charged in connection with death of Newark FD Captain, ECPO says

A Kearny man has been arrested in connection with the death of a Newark Fire Captain, Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, announced today.

Eliasel Baez, 42, of Kearny, was charged with causing the drug-induced death of Newark Fire Capt. Carlos Rivera in the early part of 2022.

Specific charges include strict liability drug-induced death for distributing a controlled-dangerous substance that caused the death of Rivera and with counts of distribution of CDS cocaine and distribution of CDS within 1,000 feet of a school.

On Jan. 15, Rivera, 49, of Sayreville, was found unresponsive inside the Newark Firehouse of Engine 15 Ladder 7 at 269 Park Ave. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Essex County leads the state in drug overdoses. Given those numbers, it is important we fully investigate these cases and charge the perpetrators with strict liability homicide when appropriate,’’ Stephens said. “The facts and circumstances in this case warranted those charges.”

The investigation, which is active and ongoing, is being handled by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force. Anyone with information is asked to contact the task force at (877) 847-7432. All calls are kept confidential.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.