Details of Disappearance
Rivera was last seen after she left the home she shared with her father on Peggy Lee Lane in Las Vegas, New Mexico on June 30, 2012. She was driving a purple 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier with the New Mexico license plate number JFZ-534. She said she would be back in a few minutes, but she never returned.
She and her one-year-old son were staying that night at the home of a health care client of her mother, but her mother wasn't home at the time; she was spending the night with a friend. Rivera was supposed to care for the client, who was bedridden.
At 2:00 a.m., Rivera called her mother from the client's house to say Christopher Trujillo, Rivera's ex-husband and the father of her son, was at the house and was drunk. She didn't sound frightened, so her mother told Rivera to chase him away and go inside.
She has never been heard from again. Her son was left behind, locked in the bathroom, and all night the bedridden man heard him crying. When Rivera's family arrived at the house later in the morning, they the garage door open and her slippers, her lighter and a couple of cigarettes on the ground outside.
Some of Trujillo's family members saw him and another man, Anselmo Richard "Chemo" Ortiz, that afternoon, and stated both men were shirtless and had scratches and bite marks on their chests. Ortiz's ex-wife and her mother also saw them, and noticed Ortiz's neck and Trujillo's face were bloody. Ortiz has a Walmart bag full of clothing that appeared to be bloodstained, and he burned it in a fireplace.
Photos of both Trujillo and Ortiz are posted with this case summary. Ortiz served time on drug trafficking charges after Rivera's disappearance and, after his release from prison, began working for Trujillo, but the men's relationship deteriorated. In the spring of 2021, Ortiz reached out to investigators and Rivera's family members to discuss her disappearance. He wanted immunity from all charges in her case in exchange for his cooperation.
In May 2021, Trujillo died by suicide. After his death, police found numerous recorded conversations on his phone; in one of them he said, "I killed my ex-wife, Cindy Rivera, and buried her in the national forest. I’m going to tell them Chemo killed her and buried her." Cellular phone data indicates the two men were near Cindy's home in Las Vegas between 12:30 and 4:00 a.m. on the night of her disappearance.
In July, Ortiz was arrested kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in Rivera's case. Investigators believe Trujillo abducted and murdered Rivera on the night of her disappearance and that Ortiz helped him do it.
Rivera's body has never been found, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.