110-years

At around 2:30 a.m. on September 2, 2012, 35-year-old Osvaldo Rivera of Camden, New Jersey changed a family’s lives forever.

Amber Andujar had celebrated her 12th birthday the day before and had just fallen asleep on the couch. Not long after, she was awakened by the feel of cold steel against her throat. Osvaldo Rivera had broken into the home and began to rape her.

Her screams woke her brother, six-year-old Dominick, who was asleep in a nearby room. He walked in to find his sister being raped by a stranger and then his instincts kicked in.

Just before young Dominick reached the attacker, Osvaldo slit the 12-year-old girl’s throat so deeply that her vocal cords were exposed. He then turned his attention to Dominick. This distraction was just enough for Amber to wiggle herself free and run outside for help. Unfortunately, her six-year-old hero was no match for the much-larger Rivera. He, too, had his throat cut, but didn’t survive the attack.

Amber got as far as the middle of the street before collapsing from blood loss.

When paramedics arrived, she was rushed to a hospital and her life was saved. Dominick Andujar was found in the home deceased with defensive wounds found on his fingers from doing his best to fend off Rivera’s relentless attack. Osvaldo was nowhere to be found.

Amber underwent two surgeries and was well enough to leave the hospital a month later. She helped Camden police find her attacker; the killer of her brother. He was actually known to her because he used to cut kids’ hair in the neighborhood.

Rivera was later found and arrested. He was found guilty on 11 counts, including murder, attempted murder, and aggravated sexual assault.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson said, “There is no sentence or punishment harsh enough for this amoral individual. The name that people should remember is that of Dominick Andujar, the 6-year-old murder victim who saved his 12-year-old sister’s life through one of the most heroic acts of self-sacrifice that I have ever known.”

Amber’s mother said, “I want this animal to suffer. He deserves to fear for his life, like my children did in their own home.”

Osvaldo was sentenced to 110 years in prison and won’t be eligible for parole for at least 91 years.