Three Men Charged in Fitchburg Murder

March 5, 2012
FITCHBURG — A father and son were held on $500,000 cash bail today after being charged with the murder of a California man whose body was found Aug. 19 in a sand pit near Fitchburg Airport, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

Reinaldo Andino-Colon, 53, and Reinaldo Andino-Benitez, 23, both of 174 Meadowbrook Lane, were arraigned before Judge Andrew L. Mandell today in Fitchburg District Court in the slaying of Alex Ortiz-Rivera, 32, of South Gate, Calif. Their cases were continued to April 25.

A third suspect, Edward J. Ortiz, 19, of Dorado, Puerto Rico, was arrested in Puerto Rico last week and is being held on $5 million bail. He will be returned to Massachusetts to face a murder charge.

Mr. Early said the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Mr. Ortiz-Rivera, who lived for a time with the Andinos, had a crushed and punctured larynx along with bruising to his neck.

An investigation by State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office and Fitchburg Police led to the arrests.

“The investigation revealed that at the time of his death Mr. Rivera had nine pounds of marijuana and more than $8,000 in cash,” Mr. Early said.

All three suspects are alleged to have participated in the beating and choking of Mr. Ortiz-Rivera, whose body was placed in the rear of a pick-up truck and dumped off Airport Road.

Assistant District Attorney Cara Krysil is prosecuting the case, which remains under investigation.