Nurse Charged in East Hanover Disabled Teen's Tragic Death

19-year-old Matthew Rossi pronounced dead shortly after arriving home from school; Nurse Emilio J. Rivera faces serious allegations.

East Hanover, NJ - On February 10, 2023, the quiet town of East Hanover was rattled with unsettling news. Matthew Rossi, a 19-year-old wheelchair-bound resident, was found unconscious shortly after he arrived home from school on his school bus. Despite immediate life-saving efforts by EMS personnel and East Hanover Police officers, Rossi was pronounced deceased.

Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, in collaboration with Chief of Detectives Robert McNally and East Hanover Police Chief Christopher Cannizzo, has now brought to light the details surrounding Rossi's untimely death. 

A licensed nurse, Emilio J. Rivera, 29, of Carlstadt, was accompanying Rossi on the bus. Allegations now suggest Rivera, legally tasked with Rossi's care, failed to perform essential duties leading to the tragedy, hence placing the young man's life at substantial risk.

Rivera now faces severe charges. 

On November 2, 2023, he was charged with one count of Endangering Another Person, a second-degree crime, and Neglect of a Disabled Person, a third-degree crime. 

Following the filing of the complaint, Rivera has been held at the Morris County Correctional Facility awaiting his initial court appearance.

Prosecutor Carroll expressed deep condolences to the grieving Rossi family, stating, "This complex investigation involved comprehensive analysis of medical reports and other available data and information. I would also like to acknowledge the East Hanover Police officers and medics who worked diligently to try to save the life of the victim."

The investigation was a collaborative effort involving the East Hanover Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation unit, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit.

It's vital to note that a criminal complaint is simply an allegation. Emilio J. Rivera is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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