A Sister's Sleuthing Unravels a Teenage Love Triangle Murder Mystery

Savage and Stacy argued in the park as the last light slipped from the sky, but there was no heat in the fight. He was just goofing around. That was Savage, his madhouse giggle always bursting from a wide grin, his jokes helping everyone pass the long, hollow hours on Young Circle.

The ink was a peek into two decades of struggle. "Mr. Ambition" was written over his right eyebrow. Teardrops fell on his cheeks. "All I Know Is Pain" was burned into his back. And there on his neck, simple script spelled her name: "Stacy."

Although it sits dead center in condo- and bistro-heavy downtown Hollywood, the circle is a way station for the young, homeless, and destitute. They show up near noon, plunk down on the grass near paths packed with dog walkers and strollers, then leave at night.

Savage, among the youngest of the regulars, never expected to end up here. The 25-year-old mixed martial arts wannabe fighter had survived the hard knocks of a bad childhood and made a fast break from Jersey City's gangland to South Florida. And for a while, the Sunshine State had been just the second act he'd wanted. He'd found a good woman and a job, had a kid, and chased his cage-match glory on the side. But by June 2013, he'd tripped up hard, just like everyone else in Young Circle.

Michael Rivera escaped a rough New Jersey childhood to pursue a professional fighting career in South Florida.
Photo courtesy of Adelia Rivera
Michael Rivera escaped a rough New Jersey childhood to pursue a professional fighting career in South Florida.
After their parents both died, Michael (right) relied on his older sister Adelia (center) and older brother Eric (left) to keep him straight.
Photo courtesy of Adelia Rivera
After their parents both died, Michael (right) relied on his older sister Adelia (center) and older brother Eric (left) to keep him straight.
The youngest of 11 siblings, Michael was closest with his sister Adelia.
Photo courtesy of Adelia Rivera
The youngest of 11 siblings, Michael was closest with his sister Adelia.
Police say Stacy Goff lured Michael into an alley where Alex Cabrera was waiting with a gun.
© Broward Sheriff's Office
Police say Stacy Goff lured Michael into an alley where Alex Cabrera was waiting with a gun.

When darkness settled around 8:30 on June 10 that year, Savage stood, hiking his jean shorts over green Sesame Street boxers. "Got to take my girl back to her crib," he announced.

Savage's lean body was a storm of tattoos, from his close-cut dark hair to the quick hands little-league coaches back in Jersey were still talking about. The ink was a peek into two decades of struggle. "Mr. Ambition" was written over his right eyebrow. Teardrops fell on his cheeks. "All I Know Is Pain," "Greed Kills Slowly," and "Nothing Lasts Forever" were burned into his back. And there on his neck, simple script spelled her name: "Stacy."

She got up too, her dark hair held back in a ponytail. Under jeans and black tank top, her curvy 18-year-old frame was also a coloring book of ink: stars and winged hearts crawling up one leg, an elaborate naked woman on the other, weed plants on her hands. Some of the work she'd done herself, and she'd taught Savage the basics. More than anything, tattoos were their strongest link.

As they left the park that night, the couple looked happy enough. For months, Stacy and Savage had been on-again and off-again, waging a war of words, then cuddling later on the couch at her place. The week before, she'd fired off ugly texts warning him to steer clear. But here they were tonight, back together.

They walked west on Hollywood, then hooked north on Dixie Highway. Stacy seemed nervous, stealing glances at her phone. At Taft Street, they headed east again into a neighborhood of sagging bungalows and shaggy lawns. Just before reaching Stacy's house on North 22nd Avenue after an hour of walking, the couple detoured into an alley stained orange from the high-watt glare of a streetlight.

That's when the gunshots rang out, four in quick succession from just behind Savage. Two bullets punched through his left arm. Two more pierced his skull. He hit the ground, and Stacy sprinted north. After a pause, his prone body violently shook again as two final rounds slammed into his chest. Savage — Duran Michael Rivera, born in Jersey, killed in a South Florida alley — quickly bled out. By the time police arrived at 9:45, he was already dead.

For detectives, the killing at first glance must have seemed an all-too-common crime: another dead thug, likely felled by the same drug culture that had left him homeless and broke. Yet Savage's life and death — as told through hundreds of pages of police records, text messages, and interviews with his family and itinerant friends — were far more complex.

To his tight-knit clan back in Jersey, the killing was just the latest episode in a saga of pain and loss, violence and drugs. Determined to understand his death, his hard-nosed older sister Adelia Rivera began following a trail of online bread crumbs through Facebook. Soon, the clues she found pointed toward a darker, more twisted reason for murder than a simple drug beef: a love triangle that had boxed Michael between two troubled, violent teens.

Her improbable sleuthing eventually helped crack the case, but it still hasn't helped solve the larger question of how did her little brother's life ended up so far adrift from her dreams for him.

"I try to be angry about it, just to go through the motions and steps of grieving, but I just feel incredibly sad all the time," she says. "I want to understand — I need to understand — why this happened."


Every Sunday, he tapped his inner MJ. The little boy elbowed his way through his great-grandmother's second-floor apartment on Montgomery Street that was crammed with great-aunts and second cousins. At the stereo, Michael Rivera hit play on "Billy Jean." As the music flowed, he broke out the King of Pop's famous move, grabbing his crotch and wiggling around to the delighted squeals of family. "Do it again, Michael," they cheered. Eventually somebody made him a little glove for his act.

Those performances were important for Michael, a little kid already hungry for whatever table scraps of affection he could get.

Michael was the youngest of 12 born to David Cruz, a hulking weight-room rat who cruised Jersey City on a motorcycle with the Ching-a-Ling Nomads, a Latin version of the Hell's Angels. His intimidating look hid a softy with a keen sense of humor, but by the time his two youngest children, Adelia and Michael, were born, in 1985 and 1987 respectively, much of that cheer had been worn away.

Adelia and Michael's mother, Elena Rivera, was from the Bronx. She was in and out of jail on drug and prostitution charges; during one stay, she befriended one of David's cousins, then followed her home to Jersey. David was in love the moment he saw her.

But Elena couldn't stay away from drugs. She used during all her pregnancies; when she was carrying Michael, she consumed everything, including heroin. When they brought the baby home from the hospital, his pained cries issued unceasingly from the crib. "There was nothing anyone could do to make him stop," Adelia remembers. "It was terrible."

Then when Michael was just 6 months old, his mother died of an overdose. Instead of taking on all the kids, David Cruz parceled the brood off to his extended family in the Puerto Rican neighborhoods near Jersey City's waterfront. The anchor was the kids' great-grandmother Vasquez, an all-smiles matriarch who was already climbing into her 80s and who attributed her longevity to chugging black coffee and laughing at whatever life threw at her.

Adelia went with Vasquez, while Michael was given to his great-aunt and -uncle just across the street. "He was a little comedy kid," recalls Miriam Prosper, his older cousin. "He loved jokes, loved making people laugh, loved the attention."

Michael and Adelia saw more of each other than the other siblings but couldn't shake the idea that they'd been abandoned. "It bonded us," Adelia says today. "I don't talk to my brothers and sisters every day. But we all went through it together, and we knew exactly how the other felt. We knew the pain we carried."

Those emotional knots only twisted more when Cruz died of AIDS when Michael was 8 years old. The family didn't even know he was HIV-positive until seeing the death certificate, Adelia says.

Adelia dealt with the pain by fleeing her fate like a burning house, working hard to outstep the mistakes of her parents. A sober, serious, and bespectacled girl, by the time she was 12, she'd moved in with a friend's family downtown and started working odd jobs for cash. She beat lung cancer at 14 and then four years later got a job at a financial firm. In four more years, she was a manager. Later she went to nursing school.

"There was no time to cry for myself or pity myself," she explains. "I needed to think what my next move was going to be."

Michael was different, though. The past bruised him hardest. "My father was trying to do the right thing," Adelia says. "Michael didn't see it like that. He felt like he was abandoned."

As he got older, the pain aged to anger. Usually goofy and personable, sometimes his mood sank like a torpedoed ocean liner. Doctors speculated he had a bipolar condition and possibly schizophrenia. He was prescribed medications, but the drugs buried him inside a bland, dead-eyed shell. By the time he was 14, he'd quit school and started running the streets.

Adelia tried to act as a surrogate mom. "Michael, you know how our parents died," she would constantly tell her brother. "We were born addicted to that stuff; it would be easy to get addicted again."

"I know, I know," he'd bounce back, before breaking out in a court-jester grin.

But Jersey City was bad news for a kid starving to belong. Everyone Michael grew up with was either in or affiliated with a gang. His family started seeing Michael wearing colors, but they knew he talked bigger than he bit. The tattoos he began accumulating were another smokescreen.

"He looked like a thug," says Tony Torres, a wheelchair-bound family friend who let Michael crash at his place when the teen was bouncing around Jersey City. "But I think he was just hiding himself behind his tattoos, portraying himself as a tough guy."

If there was one place where Michael seemed to actually thrive, it was in a boxing ring. It was his brother Eric, three years older, who got him started. Michael copied everything he did, from his outfits to his hair, neat as the baselines in a big league ballpark. When Eric went to fight, Michael tagged along. In the ring, he showed a natural talent with quick hands. Nearly every practice bout at Rocky Marciano Gym in Jersey ended with a KO. Although he never got a pro fight, talent scouts agreed the kid had talent. "I guess it was all the struggles in our lives, the pent-up aggression," Adelia says.

Although he'd do construction jobs, Michael couldn't keep steady work. His first son arrived when he was 17, his second three years later with a different girl. The child payments started racking up until he was around $4,000 in the hole with the courts.

But for all his troubles, Michael never ran afoul of the police until 2006, when he was 22. A fight with the mother of his older boy got ugly, and she claimed Michael had hit the baby during the tussle. Michael claimed it was an accident. He was charged with aggravated assault, pleaded guilty, and took two years' probation.

Then in 2010, the mother of his second son cut him loose. Michael dropped further into his emotional deep end until Torres came through with an escape hatch: He was moving to Hollywood and invited Michael to tag along. "There was nothing else out there for him in Jersey City," Torres says.

Michael wanted to fight professionally, so when he and Torres arrived in South Florida in the summer of 2010, he established an intense routine. Abandoning boxing for mixed martial arts, he worked out at a gym on Hollywood Boulevard and started running 15 miles a day.

During his first month in town, he and Torres were at the Publix on Young Circle when Torres' wheelchair bumped a guy in line. The stranger started screaming, and Michael intervened. When the guy started pushing him, Michael dropped him with one punch. "Savage," someone nearby announced in awe, and Michael took the name for his MMA bouts — Savage Southpaw Rivera.

Around the same time, Michael's eye caught on a beautiful girl behind the sandwich counter at the Subway off the circle. He started coming in to buy chocolate chip cookies and flirt. Gloria and Michael were soon dating; they moved in together in 2011 when she became pregnant. After the baby arrived, Adelia and her family visited his Hollywood apartment, and it seemed like he'd finally puzzled the pieces of his life into the right places.

"He was doing well," she recalls. "I think my brother needs to be with a woman that's better than him, so that he's motivated to do better. Gloria wanted something more out of her life."


Savage was burning down a joint with Irish, a scarecrow-thin street tattoo artist. It was around 7 a.m. The two regulars were camped out in the middle of Young Circle when they spotted it: an eagle blading through the morning air to snatch a squirrel off a branch. The two sat sharing the moment, their weed-battered brains grappling with the natural marvel. The morning was all the more surreal because only weeks before, Savage and Irish had viciously brawled. But that's how it was in the circle. You might as easily be trading a joint as punches.

When Adelia left Michael and returned to Jersey City, the last thing she expected was that in a little more than a year, he'd end up sleeping under a tree and spending his hours with someone like Irish. But Michael's rapid descent was an eerie replay of his mom's troubles — a depression- and drug-fueled tailspin that would end in a dirty Hollywood alleyway.

Michael's relationship with Gloria went well for two years. While she pulled her shifts at Subway, Michael watched their son and Gloria's other child. He took the kids to the park and tried not to fumble recipes for mac-and-cheese. He was still training to fight, and sometimes Gloria would slip on the pads and spar with him in the driveway. Gloria's other son even took to calling Michael "Dad."

But by the summer of 2012, things were getting rocky. "I was getting frustrated," Gloria says. "I was the one busting my ass and taking care of all the bills for everyone in the house. I needed help financially."

When Michael finally found a job filling stock at a corner store, he also made friends with the troubled crew at nearby Young Circle. He started staying out late with them, sometimes all night, and when he came home, he fought with Gloria. Worse, Michael's steadiest influence — his friend Torres — was spending months at a time dealing with sick family members back in Jersey.

One afternoon in late 2012, Michael left after being nasty to Gloria and the kids. She told him to come home early that night or they were finished. When Michael didn't show, Gloria put all his stuff in a bag and left it outside. She was done. "When he was with me, he was on track, he was great," she says. "Then after we parted, he started with bad things."

It was the same pattern he'd shown as a kid, tumbling from a good relationship and opportunity to depression and anger. Only this time, Adelia wasn't there to net his free fall. And heroin, the same drug that had killed his mom, entered the picture as his life shifted to Young Circle. He passed his time lying on the lawn, ducking cops and sneaking across the street to pull on a plastic bottle of vodka behind the number-nine bus stop.

"Everybody who was hanging here was a bunch of hood rats who didn't know how to be adults," says Jeremy, a homeless and tattered 20-something who idled days away with Michael.

Yet Savage, as everyone knew him there, found a high-five camaraderie in the park. Whenever he had money, he'd run to Walgreens for sodas for everyone. "He didn't start no trouble, didn't disrespect anyone," Jeremy says. "Savage was a good guy."

Violence was common as well, and Savage didn't hide from a fight. He swung on anyone who bothered the homeless women. "When I first bumped into that kid, I thought, 'Damn, this kid isn't going to live too long,'" says Leo, another circle regular. "He had a Tupac attitude — fuck the world. But then he'd be at the soup kitchen serving plates. Inside, he was a good-hearted person."

The park was likely where he met Stacy Goff. She was seven years younger, with dark pretty eyes and heart-shaped lips that spit out tough street-speak. Their common ground was emotional wear and tear. Stacy was the second oldest in a family of four girls born to James, a construction worker, and Margo, a stay-at-home mom, according to a family friend who asked to remain anonymous. When she was 10, Stacy's father died (of natural causes, according to the medical examiner). From there, the family bounced from address to address in Hollywood. Stacy soon bailed on high school and started running the streets.

The couple bonded over tattoos, as Stacy inked Michael and taught him how to use the needle. The couple soon moved together with three other friends into a cramped apartment in Hollywood. When Torres finally came back from New Jersey in December 2012, he stopped by. That's when alarms started blaring.

Michael was skinny and sick-looking. Stacy seemed fog-bound. Torres felt certain she was on pills or heroin. "She's taking you away from your goal," he'd warn him. But Michael didn't seem interested.

In March, Torres called Adelia and warned her about the drugs. For Adelia, it was the worst kind of déjà vu. "I went quickly into overdrive," she says. "I was going to lose him forever if I didn't do something quickly. It's exactly how it happened with my mom."

Adelia began plotting to get him home and arranged a rehab stay for Michael once he returned. But then he went AWOL. His phone stopped working. He wasn't living at the same address. Michael would ring up Torres from blocked numbers only to say he was still alive.

Adelia's updates came secondhand through Torres: Michael said he didn't want to come home. Then he said he'd come home, but he had to bring Stacy. Finally, Michael told Torres he thought someone was out to get him. Adelia was pregnant, and her doctor had put her on no-fly orders. Still, every day she talked to her husband about driving the 1,200 miles to Florida overnight. But then what?

She didn't know it, but Michael was now a Young Circle regular, spending his days in the park and disappearing at night to sleep in shelters, on friends' couches, or outside. She also didn't know he was getting sucked down deeper into a love triangle humming with violence.

By the spring of 2013, according to police records and interviews with friends, Stacy had fallen in with another 17-year-old, a stocky kid with soft eyes and bushy eyebrows named Alex Cabrera. The teen had a record. On August 14, 2012, he'd refused to pull over after police tried to stop his car. After blowing through three red lights, Cabrera was cornered at Phippen Waiters Road and West Dixie Highway in Dania Beach. Police pulled him from the car, cuffed him, and roughed him on the sidewalk. Footage of the fight made it onto local news. Cabrera was hit with charges of resisting arrest, battery on an officer, and possession of marijuana. (The charges were filed in juvenile court, so records are not available on how they were resolved.)

Text messages later released by police show that by May 2013, Stacy, Cabrera, and Savage were soon embroiled in an emotional tug of war. Stacy had been telling friends that she was with Cabrera; by June, she said the two were trying to get a place together. He takes care... me n treats me great, she wrote in one text to a friend.

But the texts also make it clear Stacy and Savage were still linked. Later in May, Cabrera fired off an angry message after hearing his girlfriend was hanging around Michael. jusz kuz he wasz round da area dnt mean I was wit a nigga or even talkin to him, she pleaded. Mhm Stacyy, Cabrera punched back. Girls like u are the reason im a hoe and heartless. All yah da same.

Despite her denials to Cabrera, police records show Stacy was indeed texting Michael throughout May, soon telling him to use Facebook instead. Plz don't text back, she wrote in one message. I love you.

Then in early June, their relationship turned ugly. Stacy demanded to know why Savage had been seen around the house of one of her friends. For tattoos, he answered. Naw nigga... dahts my pplsz dont go round my ppls, she responded, before launching into a threat to call police to accuse Michael of rape, as well as telling him there was a "green light on his head."

I'll fuk yur life up dawg, she wrote.

Life fuked up already, Michael messaged back.

Nine days later, he was dead.


Adelia's husband said they had to talk. It was a Thursday morning, June 13, 2013, and the busy mom was getting her kids ready for school. She could read bad news in his face and figured it had to do with her 107-year-old great-grandmother. She dug in for the hit. "They found your brother," he said unexpectedly.

Even though Michael had been out of contact for three months, the news went off like a grenade, taking out pieces of Adelia. "Everything changed," she says today, tears rimming her eyes.

Slammed with grief, she also knew the odds. Her husband had worked homicide for five years. Without a witness, murder cases were hard to put together. So Adelia started her own amateur investigation, spending hours sifting through the only pipeline of information she had: Facebook. In the end, her own desktop detective work helped tease out the truth.

"I became completely obsessed," she says. "I was on the computer every day. I knew every move they made."

Adelia and her husband, a Jersey City Police officer, say they found a series of incriminating Facebook posts they later sent to police in Hollywood. Both Stacy's and Cabrera's Facebook accounts have since been deleted, so it's impossible to independently verify the specific posts, but police records show that detectives were also monitoring the teens' Facebook history and that they used Stacy's online activity to build a case against the teens. (Stacy's and Cabrera's attorneys declined to comment for this article.)

Adelia got her first look at Michael's teenaged girlfriend on Facebook, where she saw that the young girl mugging cute for bathroom selfies matched the description police had circulated of a woman seen fleeing the murder scene. Stacy's page was mum about the murder, Adelia says, even though there were friends posting to ask about Michael.

Then, two weeks or so after the shooting, she saw that Stacy's relationship status had switched from "Single" to "In a Relationship with Alexis Cabrera."

Clicking over on the teen's page, Adelia says she saw that Cabrera had deactivated his account on June 10, the day of the murder. But before going off­line, he'd posted "bang" six times — the same number of gunshots Michael was hit with. On June 12, Cabrera had reactivated the account. "I'm back," he'd posted, adding a smiley face, she says. In new pictures, Cabrera sported a new teardrop tattoo, which is often ink signage for a successful killing on the street. "I knew," she says. "I just knew."

The sister began relentlessly calling down to Florida, asking detectives if they'd been following along on Facebook. "Every week, they would hear my voice because I wouldn't let them forget about him," she says.

Hollywood detectives, who declined to be interviewed, were already looking at Stacy as a suspect. At the crime scene, police found medication in Michael's backpack from a recent hospital stay. An address on the label led to a single-story house on North 22nd Avenue, where Margo Goff told police that Michael was her daughter's boyfriend but that Stacy wasn't home.

The next day, the teen agreed to be interviewed by police. Stacy first told detectives that Michael was her boyfriend and she'd been with him at Young Circle on the night of the shooting. He'd walked her home, and the two split up because her mom didn't let Michael around anymore.

When detectives told Stacy she matched the description of a girl seen fleeing from the alley, she changed her story. After they split up, Stacy claimed she'd started heading up North 22nd Avenue when she spotted a black male she knew only as "Dred." The two hugged to say hello, but then Michael appeared from an alley, shouting for Dred to get away from his girl. The two faced off. Dred pulled a gun and started firing. Stacy ran.

Police were dubious. Before ending the interview, detectives asked her about Cabrera and why — as Adelia had noted and sent on to the cops — her Facebook page had said the two were in a relationship in April. Stacy then admitted the truth: She was dating both Michael and Cabrera.

Police filed search warrants to get all of Stacy's text messages. In the meantime, a confidential informant approached in late July. The snitch said he'd been sitting on the back porch of his Dania Beach house around 2 p.m. on the day of the murder when Cabrera and Stacy stopped by. Cabrera had pulled out a short-barreled .38 Special and bragged about how it could punch through a bulletproof vest. Cabrera said they were going looking for Savage. "[Cabrera] and his girlfriend started talkin'," the informant told police. "She was tryin' to tell him, well don't kill 'im. And he was like, I'm not gonna kill 'im... I'll shoot 'im in the leg."

The informant gave police an address where Cabrera was staying, a cramped apartment in a rundown shotgun house just south of Young Circle. "There's guns, there's drugs, there's everything in there," he warned.

Two days later, SWAT smashed into the apartment, hauling off Cabrera for possession with intent to sell cocaine and heroin. He was released on bond, and those charges are still pending.

Two months later, SWAT swarmed a small, gray, paint-chipped house just off North Dixie Highway, a couple of blocks from where Michael was killed. The target was a crack-slinging gang member, but Stacy was also there when police knocked. Investigators bagged both crack and heroin in the sweep and charged Stacy with possession of heroin and cocaine (both those charges are also pending).

Then came the smoking gun. The warrant came through for Stacy's text messages, and police found hundreds that established a clear motive: the tumultuous love triangle among the two teens and Savage.

Even better for prosecutors, police found that Stacy and Cabrera had been messaging each other on the day of the killing. The messages suggest the pair coldly plotted the crime in advance, with Stacy leading Savage from Young Circle to the dark alley where Cabrera waited with his gun.

A few hours before the shooting, Cabrera had texted: He better be in that alley at 9:45 stacy.

And while Stacy and Savage made their hourlong walk through Hollywood, records show she sent Cabrera street-by-street updates. By 9:20 p.m., Cabrera was impatiently texting Stacy, asking where she was. At 9:32, she announced she was there. I'm pulling up, Cabrera replied. Hold him there.

The messages were the final piece of the puzzle. In October 2013, police issued warrants for both Stacy and Cabrera for the first-degree murder of Michael Rivera. Stacy was taken into custody immediately; Cabrera was on the run for more than a month before police tracked him down at a friend's house in Davie.

Adelia's Facebook hunch had been right.

"I thought that I would feel some sort of relief or closure or happy they were busted," Adelia says. "I didn't."

Instead, when she got news of the arrests, her mind stuck on how young the murder suspects were. "I just felt sad for their mothers," she says.


Adelia cruised through downtown Hollywood in a rental car, tears stinging her eyes as she passed the street names from police reports she'd read so many times: Taft, Pierce, Johnson. She fought tears as she approached the dirty asphalt where her brother died, but once the car pulled up, the grief spilled out.

It was eight months after Michael's murder, and she had come to South Florida to meet prosecutors. But as she drove back to her hotel, she found herself drawn toward Young Circle and then slowly north until the car stopped just outside the alleyway where Michael had bled to death. For days, she'd been half expecting her phone to buzz, with Michael on the other end laughing about some silly joke. But the call never come. Now she stared at the place where he'd died and confronted the truth.

"That was the first time that I realized my brother was deceased," she says. "It really clicked. He's not calling me."

After the arrests, prosecutors built what Adelia believes is a strong case against Stacy and Cabrera, whose tangled relationship they say led to Savage's death. The text messages are the center of their case. "Stacy Goff claims to have been in a relationship and loved the victim but after he was shot, she did not call police or an ambulance," police note in her arrest affidavit. "[She] gave updates of her location and when she would be in the alley with the victim to Alex Cabrera."

Cabrera, at least, will try to convince a jury that he had nothing to do with the plot. From his cell block at the Broward Detention Center, he plunked down before a video screen in mid-December to speak with a reporter about the charges. Despite his hulking 200-pound frame and the tattoos climbing from his knuckles to his neck, a soft, friendly voice ekes out. "I was set up by Stacy Goff," he explains.

In Cabrera's telling, he never knew Michael Rivera and knew Stacy only through friends of friends. She stole his phone a few days before the shooting at a party on Hollywood Beach, he says, then intricately set up the whole murder. Stacy would never have messed around with someone like him, he says. "Stacy only dated older guys," he argued.

Goff has also pleaded not guilty; her attorney did not return calls from New Times. Stacy's mother, Margo, also declined to be interviewed. "It's not something I'd prefer to talk about," she says. (The case is still pending; no trial date has been set.)

When she returned to New Jersey from her meeting with prosecutors and impromptu visit to Michael's murder scene, Adelia found herself mentally replaying the footage from their childhood.

Could she have done anything differently? Pushed him harder to straighten out? Or did she shove too hard and send him careening off course? "I know he could have been so much better," she says. "I could have gotten him there. But they took that away from me."

Adelia has tried instead to focus on getting justice. She's told prosecutors that even if the death penalty is on the table, she'd rather not have Cabrera and Stacy pay with their lives if they're convicted. "I feel like it's three lives lost," she explains. "The only difference is if their mothers want to see them, they can go visit them in jail. I can't."

Though they were so different on the surface, the siblings' connection ran so deep that Adelia now feels Michael like a phantom limb — gone but still there. He's shown up at night in the dreams of other family members. Only days after the murder, his great-grandmother woke up talking about seeing Michael and a girl in her dream. Another morning, Adelia's 6-year-old son said he was visited by his tio.

Adelia hasn't had her own visit from Michael. Not yet.

"I'm begging my brother to come to me in my dreams to let me know he's OK," she admits. "When he knows I'm ready, he'll come."

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33 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

....................OTHERWISE BASICALLY if these kids have so much free time and their community interests ARE positive then WHY DON"T I EVER SEE THEM VOLUNTEERING like at the park picking up trash or at the hospital running errands or any of the necessary unpaid J O B S that need doing ?

it's simple - they are DRUG ABUSERs who lie and cheat and steal and are wholly undependable and dishonest and will not complete a simple J O B like washing a car for money without screwing even that J O B up somehow = period

they DO NOT take responsibility for their actions or their kids or their lives or anyone else's life which is why they DON'T EVER TRUST EACH OTHER = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...........BOTTOM LINE if you respect yourself and your FAMILY and your FRIENDS

>>>>>the BASICs are,  get an education,  and get married,  BEFORE having kids = period = that's the basis for an ageless LOVE STORY

drug abuse is for those who have NO RESPECT = period

susanjjolly
susanjjolly

my neighbor's ex-wife makes $76 every hour on the computer . She has been without work for five months but last month her check was $16983 just working on the computer for a few hours. read this......................... http://www.work25.com/

mistico241
mistico241

I dont want to speak ill of someone who has passed but the whole truth has not come out with this story. To start savage had a very bad crack and heroin addiction and had robbed a few dealers in the hollywood area and they were looking for him.. then the witness who saw the 2 people fleeing the scene saw a white female with red hair in a ponytail and a tall black male alex is not tall or black . The witness stated " I am black I know the difference" then there is the fact alex had a girlfriend at the time who was not stacy. The so called snitch is also addicted to pills and herion and was on the run from the police for violation of probation and was facing five years. He was even in a serious motorcycle accident and crushed his leg and still ran from the scene and a few days later went to the hospital using a fake name but some how walks into the police station and tells them this story and he walks out scott free... then when alexs hoise was raided the reporter failed to state there were no drugs or guns or weapons in the house or how the police felt they needed to murder the family dog by not shooting him once but 7 times.. or how about how when alex did not stop for the police he did not run any light or speed yet he was punched in the face and yanked out of the car the beat by multiple officers which one was fired and another put on suspension the one who was fired had lied on the police report and this went public to the news ever since that incident the cops have been after alex and I find it funny how just days after he was arrested for this chumped up murder charged the officer who was fired was reinstated.. and the tear dorp on alexs eye was in memory of his uncle.. if it stand for murder as people want to clam then who did savage kill cause he had more than one. And how about how stacy said dred did it and when she was arrested she was living with dred or how just a few weeks ago dred was arrest for another murder.. please look at the truth and dont let an innocent child sit in jail for a crime he didnt do..

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michellejdunne

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jamesafong
jamesafong


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frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................one reason we don't have to worry about the negative effects of illegal immigrants - we have plenty of home growns who cost the system without ever being productive citizens

IF one adds the government benefits ALL the related individuals of MICHAEL RIVERA over the years inclduing medical costs for his mother and father paid for by government and no doubt section 8 housing assistance and welfare and food stamps for all his siblings and himself over twenty plus years and then his run in with the law costing police and judicial systems and now his own two kids going forward will also qualify for government assistance for the NEXT eighteen years - it will easily surpass a MILLION DOLLARS of government expense

and it doesn't include the government cost of STACY GOFF and ALEX CABREARA including a trial and incarceration - that will again easily surpass ANOTHER MILLION DOLLARs

.....................AND of course who paid for those cellphones - YUP YOU DID !

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................as for YOUNG CIRCLE it also has plenty of positive experiences for normal civilized citizens namely HOT GLASS glassworks and BRITTO and frequent FOOD TRUCKs and other pleasant on-going events

it is well maintained and landscaped and offers cooling splash pools and seating throughout so maybe the GOOD can overwhelm the miscreants and hobos and vagrants to the extent they see to it to behave accordingly

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

........................LOVE has nothing to do with this story

DRUGs are what this is all about and young kids abusing drugs that are simply stronger than they are and when they do want to turn it around they find they are UNemployable and totally UNprepared for responsibility which of course simply primes them to sink deeper down the hole

unfortunately these young kids have kids and the cycle continues

>>>>>the BASICs are,  get an education,  and get married,  BEFORE having kids = period = that's the basis for an ageless LOVE STORY

adelia24
adelia24

Hi frankd4

You should really try doing some research before commenting. My father took care of all his children with his hard earned dollars, which by the way worked for the City for over 20 years, WITHOUT any public assistance. EVER. My siblings and I have worked hard and educated ourselves. Also WITHOUT any government assistance of any kind. We all take care of our children with careers WITHOUT any government assistance. As for my deceased brother's children, they all have very good mothers. Also very educated and are not on government assistance of any kind.

Know your facts before making an ignorant comment.

Blessed day to you and yours.

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

Young Circle hasn't always been so lovely.  Living in the area for over 20 years I've seen the changes. Unfortunately changes are slow and it has always been a haven for the homeless.  I remember when there was a time that you didn't want to be anywhere on Hollywood Blvd. between I-95 and Young Circle after dusk.  Just because you clean up the surface doesn't mean you've cleaned up the entire mess.  Just travel a few streets North and South of the circle and you'll still see the ugly.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

........................so explain to the IGNORANT world, including MYSELF,  how a single-mom working at SUBWAY can afford TWO KIDS (one by MICHAEL who is now dead so his arrears in child support are a write-off and one by another father apparently no longer even in the kids life) WITHOUT government assistance and section 8 subsidized housing and food stamps and welfare and oBaMacare and free cellphone(s)

the real story here is the TAXPAYERs got screwed

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................yes, adelia24, i realize you cannot admit what the COSTs to we the people are because when the government provides all these benefits and financial support and assistance,  well,  quite simply eaten bread is soon forgotten

i know young circle and i know of those who hang out there and keeping it simply WHO PAYS FOR ALL THOSE CELLPHONEs ?

and as for "your siblings",  well, doesn't that include MICHAEL RIVERA ? your telling ME he was current on his obligations, including supporting HIS KIDs and HIS WIFE and paid his rent and provided for his family ? how exactly did he do that ? he was an UNEMPLOYABLE drug abuser so how did he make LEGAL money ?

i very sorry he is DEAD but let's be accurate about what he COST us while he was here and while his future obligations will also be PAID FOR by the government

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

Hi adelia24

I'm so sorry for your loss.  I know Stacy did this, she told my son about it and he spoke with me.  I met Stacy in August 2013,  I spoke with her about the things she told my son.  We didn't get into details (like names) but from the things she told me I know she was speaking of your brother.  I contacted Hollywood Police soon after her arrest but haven't heard back from them.  I've often wondered about your family and have prayed that somehow you'll have justice. 

rrlevy272
rrlevy272

@adelia24 My heart really goes out to you and your family. It's so difficult to continually playback years of time with someone and question if you did something that ultimately lead to their unfortunate end. Your diligent effort to resolve this heinous crime is uncommon and indeed noteworthy.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@vidaljudy


yes i know - i frequented the area when CONCA D'ORO was popular with MOON behind the bar as i was addicted to the calamari with two glasses of wine came to $15 with tax and tip - and would travel home to DAVIE on those "back" roads


the proper sequence is to offer FREE PARKING to accomodate visitors who will in turn support the business operators who in turn will have a financial interest in progressive YEAR ROUND attractions (and NOT just be tourist traps constantly screwing patrons (who can get away with it on out-of-town snow-birds but local-yokels will avoid) and then close and re-open next season with a new scam)


for examle, today, HOT GLASS,  CUENCA CIGARs,  MAURNOs pizza, the TIPSY BOAR, PUBLIXs,  SUBWAYs, are all legitimate seedlings that can sustain YEAR ROUND operations the homeless can co-exist with

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

frankdd4....you seem to have issues, very personal issues.  Like mommy/daddy issues.  Did you eat to much government cheese growing up? First of all the world isn't ignorant.  YOU ARE.  Again if you had passed comprehension in school you would have understood what was written. It is possible that there are people out there who work several jobs to support their families, and working several jobs pay taxes at each job.  It is possible to be a single parent and be able to support the family you have.  According to your ignorant talk, you could assume that single parents all receive government assistance.  Not true...unless you have proof that Halle Berry or Sandra Bullock  (both single parents) are receiving government assistance.  The are many single mother's who would rather struggle several jobs than have to depend on or tolerate a man. 

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

In a strange way I feel sorry for people like mistico241 who rarely accept responsibility for their actions.  It's always someone else's fault.  It's always the corrupt cops.  It's never the fault of the actions of the individual at question.  Yes, Hollywood PD has had it's share of scandals but it's not the entire department.  Alex is now a innocent child?  How convienent...a child...then perhaps his parents should have been parenting this child and he should have been home fed, bathed and in tucked in bed by a parent by 9pm.

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant people seem to be able to post their comments.  Ignorance is stupidity..so they fact that they can even turn on a computer, read or write is utterly dumbfounding.  frankd4 apparently failed reading comprehension and literature in school.  To come to those conclusions out of that story is unexplainable.  It's not even run on sentence!!!  There's no punctuations in the whole jumble mess.  SMH....to think of the wasted government funds on his education!

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

The City of Hollywood and all those elected officals have no interest in that.  They just want a tourist trap or someplace that'll bring in yuppies to spend money which will then somehow find it's way into the pockets of those elected officials.  They have gone as far as tearing down historic Hollywood and using eminet domain to push people out of the area.  The only people they can't seem to push out are the homeless.  That is an issue however that needs to be taken up with the City and elected officials and not so much with the homeless.  The homeless issue needs to be addressed.  If these people weren't homeless, then they'd be considered local-yokels enjoying the area.  It's a shame that the homeless issue has been ongoing for several decades now, they only difference on that issue is the faces and ages of the homeless. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................in the final analysis i'm am responding to a story that i call BS on

these kids made choices and these kids are a DRAG on society and these kids can claim all the excuses they want BUT the kids are responsible for their actions whether or not the admit it = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.............IF a young woman has a child she cannot properly provide for that is a receipt for disaster = period

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

Your resentment gives the impression that you have been turn down for government assistance at sometime in your life.  You don't even know what your point is!  You complain that Michael has been on assistance along with every member in his family for generations yet you complain that he made money illegally.  You complain about Obamacare (wasn't even in place at the time this happened) but Obamacare is a requirement for all taxpayers, opting out isn't an option. So your political rambling makes no real sense to anyone who isn't ignorant.  What is your issue with cellphones?  It is my understanding that assistance doesn't pay all your expenses, if that were true I'm sure many people would be living on Brickell Ave or those swanky condo's along the beach instead of the run down apartments they could afford.  Many homeless aren't even entitled to cash assistance because they can't give a provide the verifiable permanent address that is required.  They may get food stamps but again that's a program that anyone can apply for and with the economy like it is can qualify.  Many homeless don't even apply because they don't have the neccessary documents to present to a caseworker. 

mistico241
mistico241

It never ceases to amaze you.. ha what a joke.. you really have no idea. I cant speak for stacy whole story and how she was brought up but I can say alex was abandoned by his birth mother when he was 3 and sadly left in the care of his father who was an addict and in in out of jail so alexs step mother took him away from the father and was raised by her and his step grand mother raised in a good home on the ocean and was not a street kid. Alex was not a drug addict and yes smoked weed as he got older and chose to live with his father when he was not injail. But alex is a soft spoken kid who was trying just to be him and never was in trouble befor the first incident with the so called car chase. After all that aired on the news the entire family was harrassed by the hollywood police so until you are in his shoes or know the truth dont speak. I am sorry she lost her brother and I hope the right person is help responsible but alex is innocent in this case.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

....................yeah typical to shoot the messenger

no J O B but everyone has tattoos and cellphones and plenty of free time AND OH YEAH can 'afford" drugs of all kinds whenever and time with girlfriends and boyfriends to afford dates and entertainment and amusements - nice life huh ?

what about paying the rent and insurance and funding retirement and re-paying your parents and getting your kids fed real food and getting MARRIED and if you have so much free time VOLUNTEERING to give back what you COST the community ?

of course we the people can't comprehend the drama and COST

of course we the people are IGNORANT to pay for these benefits but we have to PAY OUR TAXES so we the people have no say when government assistance gets WASTED on WASTED drug abusers who have all manner of excuses and lie and cheat and steal

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............huh ? do you know any of the players ? why should the homeless be "pushed out" ?..........all we really NEED is for the drug abusers and slackers to be gone = period

i have frequented the area for many many years as the golf course is a historic DONALD ROSS design and i was involved in preserving it

FULVIOs was moved from DAVIE to harrison years ago partially on financial support provided by my "friends" (and i recently was involved getting BILLY JOEL and his troupe to visit us)

i myself would have taken an apartment in the area except for the PARKING situation being what it is

i continue to deal with ATTORNEYs and professionals who have offices in the area

JUST this last MONDAY i frequented ALL of the above mentioned in a previous post (brenna at hot glass / anna cuenca at cuenca cigars / maurnos pizza / tipsy boar)

i know the are and i know the people and the operators of businesses there and we ALL have observed the real "stories" over the years now

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................as for the CELLPHONEs if someone is smart enough to get one for free then how come that person isn't smart enough to get a J O B ?

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

 What is your issue with cellphones?  Do you not have one?  MetroPCS has a plan for $25 a month. I believe you can even get a $20 plan.  Regardless of the cost, there isn't a government assistance program out there to pay cellphone bills.  Look as much as I love this country,I served this country and as proud as I am to be American, the reality is our government sucks and fails it's citizens big time.  It's about time to drop all the political parties and do what's best for all Americans not just the rich ones with tokens spent on the other 99%.  You going on about the millions and millions...that are spent on supposedly the individuals in this story.  Your sense of inflation is majorly inflated.  Why not complain about the rich who don't pay their fair share of taxes, that get all the special tax breaks so that their tax burden is handed down to the hard working middle class.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.............................why should we care about those DRAGGING THE WHOLE COMMUNITY DOWN ?

the whole drama and WASTE of resources - who has TIME and MONEY for all this crap ?

if you DO DRUGS then you CCCould have TIME TO - 1)GET AN EDUCATION 2) GET A J O B 3) be PRODUCTIVE in a positive way = period

IF A GORILLA raised you you could STILL be productive and that the RIGHT TRUE and PROPER road as well as the road on DRUGs = period

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

When was the status of weed changed from illegal drug?  I don't know Alex and I don't know Michael, but I have met Stacy.  She's a walking advertisement for trouble on two legs!!  Look a lot of people are dealt bad lives but that doesn't excuse them for the things they do.  Let's all cry a river for the 3 of them, Stacy's father died and she became a stripping, drug using, tatooing, cheating people user.  Michael's lost 2 parent's at a younger age then Stacy and according to you was a violent drug user.  Alex was abandoned by his mother and on ocassions by his drug using father, although he was fortunate enough to have a step mother and step grand mother who actually cared about him he chose to live with the druggie/inmate instead of the people who struggled for him.  That was his choice, the friends he had was his choice and he bares responsibility for it.  He was grown enough to make such life altering decisions but somehow regressed into childhood when shit hit the fan.  That's a bigger joke.  All I'm saying is every action has a reaction.  Everyone needs to stop the "poor baby" act and admit the realities in their lives (and I'm not just speaking about the murder). 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................well one day we won't be so IGNORANT to pay for all of this and simply cut or eliminate benefits like section 8 housing and food stamps and welfare and subsidized transportation and cellphones AND THEN we will see if people still hang around idle and abuse drugs and space out of their obligations and responsibilities to themselves and kill the free ride

vidaljudy
vidaljudy

I've had close family members in trouble with the law, but on some level their actions brought them to that point.  Let's say yes the police used excessive force in the car chase incident, I'll admit I've seen many a police officer over react.  Wouldn't it have avoided a lot if the child had just immediately pulled over?  Alex may be innocent of the murder charge but don't try to pass him off as a innocent, overly sheltered child.  To bad that while Alex "was trying to be him" ..him was not a straight A, college bound young man with a bright future ahead of himself. That would have been the way to thank and honor those 2 women who loved and cared for him more than his own mother. 

mistico241
mistico241

I will agree with the crime that alex did do as far as the not stopping for the police he needs to take responsibility for. I dont disagree with taking punisment for your action. I will admit I dont entierly belive in our legal system but I dont think someone who did not commit a murder should be sitting in jail with his life on the line. And alex did graduate high school and has his high school diploma. And his plans when he gets out of jail is to leave florida and attend college. I have just read so many stories about this whole terrible situation and they are so far from the truth. I just want people see the truth and not judge by what the papers are saying they only tell bits and pieces and mostly false.

 
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